Editor’s Desk: Accidents Raise Safety Questions

Melanie Perez


Two students have been hit by cars in the same crosswalk on River Road right in front of the FDU campus less than two months apart from one another. The most recent accident was last Wednesday, when Daniel Clarke was hit and injured. Luckily, he survived. Weiqi Wang was not so fortunate. She was struck on Nov. 21, 2016, and later died. Her parents had to fly from China to take her body home.

Five students have been hit by cars on River Road in the last four years. Four of them have been hit in the crosswalk in front of the Giovatto Library. One other was hit in the crosswalk over Lone Pine Road near Public Safety.

As we have reported, so far the stance of the university has been that River Road is a county road and that the university does not have jurisdiction over it. But certainly, as a major economic factor in Bergen County, it can bring influence to bear on what is done.

How many more people need to be injured and killed before the safety of FDU students feels like a priority?

Cognitively, students can see and are aware that we are pretty safe on campus – we see the presence of Public Safety on campus, we see the security at Metro Knight, we see the emergency buttons around corners and cameras around campus. The issue is that while we can know that we are safer than the average person in Teaneck, it really doesn’t feel that way.

The Clery Report on campus crime statistics really opened my eyes about a lot of things with regards to campus safety. Comparatively, our school is pretty safe (when strictly talking about the major categories in the report), but even one instance of rape, burglary, robbery, or domestic violence – all of which had at least one reported incident – chisels away at students’ perceptions of campus safety.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that many do not feel safe, and that’s not necessarily something the administration can know if students aren’t willing to speak up about it. Every year the Dean of Students Office sends out a survey about student perceptions of campus safety. Many people are of the mindset that “numbers don’t lie,” but I beg to differ.

Students have different motivations for filling out polls and surveys and some answer questions based on whom they think will be the recipient of the information, their perceptions of anonymity, repercussions, etc.

I’m interested to see how many students are truly forthright when they answer the annual safety survey, and I think it would be beneficial for the administration to have a less filtered view of student perceptions.

The point is that the only way the administration can start to address student safety concerns is if students are actually voicing them. That’s why I will continue to write editorials about how I see things, regardless of the repercussions. At the end of the day, this paper is a forum for FDU community dialogue, and our goal is to be the eyes and ears of the Metro campus.

Students and administration need to be working together on this issue until it’s resolved. When will enough be enough?

That crosswalk is a hazard for everyone in the Metro campus community and we all need to be addressing the issue.