After Tragedy at the Ramada Inn, Students Assess Safety on Campus

Changes in Guest Policy Followed the Brutal Incident

By Samantha Contreras

Police have arrested Michael Sykes for the murder of Rebecca Cutler and two of her children at the Ramada Inn on Saturday, February 13.

The tragic attack has left not only people throughout Staten Island shaken, but has many CSI students who frequent the campus thinking: how safe are we?

The Ramada Inn is only a 10 minute walk from CSI’s campus and this gruesome attack left students worried for their own safety and many voiced their opinions to The Banner on what public safety should do to help prevent any criminal offenses on campus.    

While the Sykes tragedy occurred off campus, CSI has been shaken twice before by on campus crimes during this academic year.

The first being the arrest of a CSI student who was visiting the dorms and threatened residents after he was kicked out for making female residents uncomfortable and the second being the vicious beating of CSI student Adamh Barnett near Dolphin Cove in November by an unknown assailant.

For Grace Olotu, a student at CSI, public safety absolutely must increase their presence on campus.

“I think campus should definitely upgrade its security by installing metal detectors in building entrances, it’s a little extreme but this is about people’s lives at stake,” said Olotu. “And this murder was a murder of passion so to prevent something as tragic as that, the campus should offer counseling.”

She even went on to explain that, “Everyone should have an ID before even getting on campus.”

Robert Wilson, the Director of Public Safety, was unavailable for an interview.

Wilson, however, did release a statement to the college community via email two hours after the murder and informed students that an NYPD presence would be felt on campus throughout the day and that there may be ferry  shuttledelays.

“I think they are not doing enough because they didn’t tell anyone until they thought the killer was on the campus,” said Samantha Massey, a sophomore at CSI. “I think they can improve by informing us more about what is happening. Because some people didn’t know what was going on until hours later.”

Massey went on to explain what Campus Safety could do to communicate with students better.

“Maybe they can do a CUNY alert that sends texts to students’ phones so they can find out everything when it’s happening.” Massey said.

Although some students disagree that they feel safe on campus. For Tiffany Ducette, a junior at CSI, she heard nothing of the sort when asked about the murder.

“I always feel safe on campus, I heard nothing about that, but that’s just me,” said Ducette.

Although Ducette did point out how lights around campus and emergency posts are not always around or properly lit.

“I think for night classes, lights are not on, they should be more accessible,” said Ducette. “In case of danger, how can someone get to safety too?”

“Anyone can come into campus, nobody checks IDs,” she continued.

Even for many commuting students, for instance, sophomore, Jessica Lin, had a lot to say on the matter of safety.

Many students interviewed echoed the sentiment that while they personally never felt unsafe on campus, they saw a myriad of ways that security could be tightened.

“I do feel that campus safety can be improved a little. Maybe by placing a security on duty at all times in each of the buildings and more closely monitor and record who actually takes the loop bus and shuttle bus on campus along with the library,” said Jessica Lin, a sophomore at CSI. “Other than that I never really felt like my safety on campus was ever at risk.”

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