The attack last week was tragic, underscoring safety issues on campus. It was reassuring to hear that the officer is already back on duty and hopefully the post doctoral fellow will also soon return to his position on campus.
The incident highlights the importance of spotting and understanding mental health issues on campus before they turn into more serious problems, as the attacker had known personal issues and had displayed potentially inappropriate emotional responses in the past. While the victims in this case did appropriately report the previous incident to the police, it is too-common an occurrence on this campus that cases of borderline stalking, aggression or mental health issues go unreported.
Since many students might feel uncomfortable reporting strange behavior to police, thinking it unjustified to get the authorities involved in what may seem to be a minor problem, the Institute must establish and make well known proper avenues for students to take to get a fellow student help before the problem requires the involvement of law enforcement.
Areas of campus like the Dean’s Office or the Women’s Resource Center should work to provide counseling services, not just to students in crisis, but to students who might not feel comfortable speaking with the police.
Tech must also train faculty, staff and students on the warning signs of stress and conflict so that such behavior will not go unnoticed. More education about mental health issues should foster a community that better understands the students in need and is also willing to do what is necessary to help people struggling with personal issues. College can be a time of heightened stress; people who need to be helped and those close to them should not feel secluded and should feel comfortable seeking aid when needed to cope with the situations facing them.