By: Phillip Nagler | Opinions  | 

YU Needs More Armed Security Personnel

Editor's Note: Certain details in this piece have been deliberately obscured out of concern for the safety of Yeshiva University campuses.

The scope of this article is regarding the security standards on the Wilf Campus. The security on the Beren Campus is not addressed in this article.

More than 300 mass shootings have occurred in America this year. A few weeks ago, the Jewish community mourned the loss of 11 of our brothers and sisters who were murdered in Squirrel Hill. In Thousand Oaks, 12 lives were taken by a deranged gunman, where many of the victims were college-aged students. As a Jewish institution and major university, YU is a conceivable target of gun violence. While accepting this fact is difficult and frightful, we have to be preparing ourselves in case of an emergency.

Last semester, I wrote an Opinions piece to promote student awareness of active shooter protocols. I was pleased to see that the school held two active shooter drills this semester that were open to the entire student body; I decided to attend one of them. The drill was led by Mr. Paul Murtha, Director of Security at YU. He discussed the general protocol and how to best approach different active shooter situations.

At the end of the drill, I had not felt a sense of safety on campus. It seemed that in many situations there is not much that one can do to ensure their safety in the event of an active shooter. A feeling of helplessness lingered inside of me. This feeling compelled me to ask a question: “How many armed guards are there on campus?” I approached a source familiar with security at Wilf who told me that there are a few armed guards, but they are not stationed in every building on campus.

Administering these drills was a step in the right direction. After much thought, however, I am not satisfied with the amount of security we have on campus. How can I truly feel safe in those buildings that do not have an armed guard? These shootings can happen in the blink of an eye. By the time an armed guard hears of a shooting in another building — one without an armed guard — lives could have already been taken. This is not a scenario that other students and I should have to wonder about.

One can argue that there is a lack of evidence that armed guards prevent mass shootings in the first place. Additionally, it can be argued that armed guards, police officers and the strong presence of guns can cause discomfort amongst students. My response to both of these arguments would be that the benefits of having more campus security would highly outweigh the points brought across from these arguments. While some students may be uncomfortable in the presence of guns, I think most can recognize the extra measure of safety that they bring to campus.

By no means is this article is trying to tackle the debate on gun control versus Second Amendment rights. I am simply addressing concerns I have about the unsound climate of the country we are living in. We need to accept that at this point in time, a mentally ill person can easily get their hands on an assault rifle. The only way to ensure our safety is to fight fire with fire, and right now, we barely have a flame.

Photo Credit: The Commentator