Editorial: There are other issues at hand besides guns on campus

Last week, Faisal Mohammad, a UC Merced student, went on a stabbing spree, leaving four students injured and ended with his death after he was gunned down by campus police officers. As a result of violent incidents such as the one at UC Merced, school districts are now taking more caution and installing different types of safety measures. For example, Church of the Highlands, a San Bruno church that also operates as a K-8 Christian school, has recently contracted with a local security firm, hiring professional gunmen to patrol their elementary school grounds.

While violence on campuses is certainly a terrible problem, it is important to remember that these instances are incredibly uncommon. Unfortunately, they also pull attention away from more common problems on college campuses, such as sexual assault and student debt.

According to the Washington Post, one in five women will be sexually assaulted by the time they finish college. Just recently, the White House and College Humor collaborated on a PSA with a subliminal message toward sexual assault in colleges. The video is a reminder that one shouldn’t just stand by and let any act of sexual harassment take place, no matter how ineffective your intervention might seem.

Another issue at hand is the cost of education and the resulting rise in student debt, which has increased over the years and continues to do so. According to the Council of Independent Colleges, student loan debt is approximately $1 trillion, and the average debt level of those with a bachelor’s degree from a public university is $19,500. The average debt of each bachelor degree recipient from public universities jumped from $11,700 in 2008 to $14,300 in 2011.

At Skyline, the number of classes has been greatly reduced. Classes that once had an entire page of time slots in the schedule have been reduced to only two or three options per subject. It takes a lot longer for students to get through school, and of course the longer they are in school, the more their debt will spiral out of control.

If the safety of students is a school’s top priority, then college campuses should take greater strides to cut down on sexual assaults on campus. The goal of universities is to prepare students for whatever future careers lie ahead of them, not to leave them so burdened with debt that “survive” is the only word on their minds.