When Tundun Lawani died in 2012, the school rallied. There were memorials and vigils. The Political Science and International Relations department bought a book series on African politics and development in her name, and later, a tree was dedicated to Tundun near the tennis courts.
But almost immediately, the question was pointed toward safety on campus. Galesburg and Knox made a number of changes, such as repainting crosswalks and adding crosswalk markers to several corners around Knox, including the corner of South and West Streets where Tundun was hit by a drunk driver.
It’s unacceptable that there were not crosswalks around a college campus to begin with.
This October, Knox remembers Tundun Lawani and honors her memory. On Wednesday, Tri Delta and Harambee, both of which she was an active member, held a campus-wide event for Tundun. This senior class is the last that would have known her, but it seems that even as students have graduated and time has passed, Tundun’s memory lives on, and she continues to be honored.
It’s the conversation of safety, not Tundun’s memory, that’s faded.
“It was a little empowering, but also overwhelming and scary.”
In just the last few weeks, two individual cases of battery and intimidation around campus have been reported; of those, only one was made known to campus via email. The one that was reported occurred on campus between Post and the Quads to a female student who was struck in the face. That doesn’t include the multitude of cases that appear in the Campus Safety Log that often are not all printed in TKS because of the sheer volume of incidents.
Even city officials have dropped the ball on exploring long-term solutions for pedestrian safety around Knox, which was promised after Lawani’s death.
We appreciate Campus Safety’s attempts to make sure Knox is safe — a recent email from Director of Campus Safety Mark Welker reminded students of different resources on campus like the Knox Guardian app or the blue light emergency phones — but it’s never enough. Student Senate and Campus Safety led a safety walk through campus recently, but it wasn’t highly advertised to the campus. We’re anxious to see what trouble spots were identified, and what changes will come.
But there are still dimly-lit areas on campus, like those around the tennis courts and track and near Standish Park.
All it takes is one incident to remind us that we don’t live in a bubble. Danger can pervade our own small town and sometimes, even on our own small campus.
It’s up to Knox to pressure city officials to make more attempts to protect pedestrians around campus.
It’s up to students and faculty to pressure Knox administrators to make changes on campus.
And it’s on us as a community to never forget Tundun Lawani, and make sure her memory lives on.