It is not unusual that measures taken for safety also prove to be an inconvenience.Anyone who has stood in line barefoot for three hours while trying to catch a plane would agree. And while we have to acknowledge that we’d rather be inconvenienced than wind up in a worst case scenario, at times it doesn’t seem worth it.
For example: the new fence going up around Worth Hills.
In the time I’ve been at TCU, I’ve heard of several cases of car burglary or students being harrassed around campus. And I’m only a sophomore. This information is a little frightening, given that I live in Worth Hills and usually walk to and from Main Campus once the shuttles have stopped. But still, the idea of putting up a fence is not any more appealing.
From my window facing the Berry Street entrance to Pond Street Grill, I see people walking and jogging on the sidewalk at all hours of the day. The fence, nearing completion, is on the inside of that sidewalk, leaving all those pedestrians without protection. I have yet to see any pedestrian entrances in the fence, which I find more dangerous to students than having no fence at all. Walkers are protected on the inside, but once they’re out, they must remain outside until they reach the entrance on Stadium Drive. This scenario makes a late-night jog sound even more dangerous.
And if the inconvenience to pedestrians was not enough, a gate will also soon block the Berry Street entrance to Pond Street Grill, meaning all vehicles will have to enter through Pine Drive and Kent Street. In addition to the student driver, Froggie Five-0 and the Frog Shuttle will also have to alter their routes to accommodate the fence.
Sure, it may only cause slight detours, but is it really necessary?
I love the fact that I can see buses turning onto Pond Street before they stop in front of my dorm, enabling me to stay at my computer until running for the bus at the last possible moment. Bus drivers, along with every other driver in the Worth Hills area, no longer have that option – the entrance will be completely pointless once the gate has been finished.
Perhaps I have been biased against a fence from the beginning. I love areas that are large, open and without limits, such as the lawns surrounding the Worth Hills housing. Fences not only make an area appear smaller, but also very confined.
The fence is intended to keep people out, but at the same time, it is also keeping us in.
TCU does not need definite borders. I’d rather think the Horned Frog community reaches all over Fort Worth.
While nothing can change my personal bias, there certainly are ways the new fence can be made less inconvenient. For pedestrians, having entrances every few hundred feet would make it easier to reach safety if they should ever feel threatened. This solution would also make early morning jogs more flexible.
A gate is merely a fence that is capable of being opened and closed – and I think it should be used as such. What kind of message are we sending the world with an eternally closed gate? We might as well just continue to make certain that people know we don’t want them inside of our campus.
As an alternative, why not have it open during the daytime? Most people are out and about during daylight hours, so crimes rarely occur then anyway. The Frog Shuttle could also continue to run as usual, since most students are finished by 6 p.m.
This fence is being built with safety in mind. Authorities behind it should keep students in mind as well.
Valerie Cooper is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Azle.