SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The stabbing of a student last week at Savannah State University has prompted a reaction that may be revealing a new approach to safety on campus.
The specific details of that attack are not being released now. However, word of the crime instantly pulled together campus police, student government and university administrators in a way we have not seen in the past. An exclusive look at how that early reaction may also be pulling the entire student body together like never before.
An all-campus meeting at Tiger Arena on the campus of SSU. You don't fill this place without a game, a concert or graduation, but they filled it Wednesday night to talk about crime and community following a scuffle between students that put one in the hospital.
"We just want to make sure that those incidents do not happen on our campus. We've seen some situations here on campus that were not in the best of light for the institution. So, again we just want to make sure that students are engaged in the safety of the campus," said SSU Dean of Students, Bonita Bradley.
Wednesday's gathering shows just how bent this administration and its students are on not seeing a repeat of the heartache and negative perceptions that followed other high-profile crimes on campus.
"We've been through a whole lot of situations in the last three or four years but one thing that we've always remained is persistent," said Rakeeb Akande, an SSU student. "For those students who may have been in situations where they may have felt unsafe, I want them to be able to enjoy and increase their experience at Savannah State University without worrying about security issues."
"I just want the students to be able to come together and not worry about security or safety from peers. Essentially I think we are a really safe campus. I've been here for four years and I've never had an issue in terms of safety. I've always felt safe," said Student Government Association Chief Justice Sarah Dillard.
And most students there would likely say the same thing. Yet the impact of meetings like this, cannot be ignored.
"Savannah State students, they are really family oriented but sometimes I feel like we lose the sense of community with one another. Sometimes we lose the fact that sometimes I have to look out for my brothers and sisters next to me. So, I feel like it's really important for more meeting like this, meetings with more substance as well," said Chidurum Ekeke, a senior at SSU.