2008-04-27 : Students consider getting guns

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2008-04-27 : Students consider getting guns

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2008-05-16 11:55

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 334C150936

Students say they are thinking of bringing firearms to campus for
protection after a female student was robbed at gunpoint at the
University of Cape Town.

All SA campuses are supposed to be gun-free zones.

Last weekend's attack on UCT's middle campus, in which a 20-year-old
student was robbed of her handbag, laptop and car keys, has sparked
outrage over the lack of security. And although security has been
beefed-up since the robbery, security guards remain unarmed.

Lesley Connolly, of Claremont, was walking to her car from the Kramer
Law Building when two men grabbed her handbag, laptop and car keys.

Police said the men jumped into a blue Mazda 323 and sped off.
The dazed student ran to tell Campus Protection Services guards, and
when one drove in pursuit, a robber fired at him.

A week earlier, second-year engineering student Michael Woodward, 22,
was mugged at gunpoint as he walked home from UCT to his flat in
Highstead Road, around the corner from Rondebosch police station.

He said he was walking down Woodbine Road, about 200m from a campus
security point, and was on a crutch, having broken his ankle.

"This well-dressed guy came up and asked where middle campus was. I
gestured toward it, but as I did so he kind of changed character and
lunged towards me. I got a fright and struck him with my crutch.

"Then I saw he had a gun and I stopped. He asked for my wallet and
cellphone, which I handed over."

A couple of hour later Woodward's girlfriend received an SMS from his
phone, purporting to be from Woodward himself, asking her for his PIN
number which he'd "forgotten".

Now some students say they are considering bringing firearms on
campus for protection.

Lewis Martin, a psychology student from the US studying at UCT, said
crime was rampant in Cape Town and was now moving on to campus.

He had no choice but to consider buying a firearm to protect himself
and his friends.

"Having a gun-free policy is good, but it could also be very
dangerous if criminals come on to campus with guns.

"At some universities in the US and even at certain schools students
are often armed to protect themselves."

It was "scary" to think that not even the security guards were armed.

Another student, Carl Viljoen, said if the security guards or a
student had had a firearm at the time of the robbery, the criminals
might not have got away.

"Sometimes having a firearm can save someone's life. I'm strongly
considering getting one."

Gabi Kulis, a psychology major at UCT, said although there were
cameras and security guards, she still felt "very unsafe" on campus.

She now avoided walking to her car alone.

But UCT management says the campus will remain a gun-free zone.
Spokeswoman Gerda Kruger said the attacks were "most regrettable and

Just days after the attack on Connolly, UCT science and education
professor Kevin Rochford was shot dead in front of his home less than
2km from campus in Little Mowbray.

Kruger said UCT shared the fear and frustration of students and staff
about crime. But she said there was far less crime at UCT than in the
surrounding areas or any other campus in the country.

"This does not make us complacent; we are constantly reviewing the
situation and are improving our approach to preventing crime
constantly. The safety and security of our staff and students will
continue to enjoy the highest priority on the executive agenda of the
institution," she said.

Following the robbery at UCT other Cape Town campuses have also
stepped up security.

University of the Western Cape spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said
crime was "a very real factor" on campus. But UWC saw itself as a
part of its immediate community and society.

Violent crimes which have brought campus security under the spotlight

In January 2005, UCT mathematics Professor Brian Hahn was bludgeoned
with an umbrella on campus and kicked in the face. He died eight days

In October 2005, UCT engineering professor Hugh Douglas was robbed at
gunpoint in his office on the campus.

In July 2006, UCT chemistry professor Mino Caira was left with
serious head injuries by an attacker in his office.

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