STORY BY GABI GARCIA, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
PHOTO COURTESY OF WHITTIER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Cypress College’s sister school, Fullerton College, lost a student to murder during the first week of the new semester, resulting in students at both schools struggling to feel safe on campus.
Andrea Vazquez, a Fullerton College fashion student, was found murdered in a field in Moreno Valley, in Riverside County, after being kidnapped from a park where she was with her boyfriend. The suspect Gabriel Esparza, the Los Angeles County Fire Captain’s son, is facing life without possibility of parole after being charged with seven counts including kidnapping, murder, and attempted rape.
Since the murder, students at Fullerton College are struggling to cope with the intensity of the situation but most students at Cypress College are unaware of the case. After mentioning the case to several different students they were left shocked, leaving concerns of why Cypress College administration didn’t consider mentioning it to students for their safety.
On Cypress’s campus, students congregate everywhere. Students are usually by themselves around campus, leavingthem exposed and vulnerable to threats. While Cypress is a safe campus, female students are the most affected by the anxiety of taking a later class because it means being alone on campus in the dark.
Yoselyn Alvarez, a diagnostic medical sonagraphy major, is one of the many female students who are wary of taking night classes. She said, “My class ends at 9 p.m…I have to walk from the medical buildings to here [Humanities building], to get picked up. Sometimes there are other people walking with me but sometimes not so I’m always aware of my surroundings.”
Safety on a college campus is crucial to the academic success of students; if they don’t have to worry about being safe on campus, they can focus on their studies. Some students aren’t even aware of the safety measures the school has available.
Aimmie Garcia, a baking and pastry arts major, mentioned she wasn’t really aware of any safety options available to her. She believed she would feel comfortable filing a report should she need to.
Additionally, Alvarez mentioned a professor gave her a phone number to call campus security if she was ever in a situation that warranted campus and city police. There are also emergency call buttons set up in various locations around Cypress College allowing students and staff to call for help when faced with a dangerous situation.
Although Cypress College remains a safe space for students and staff, it is vital the school informs it’s students of the dangers out of their control and how to find resources to manage the situation.
Director of Campus Safety, Craig Lee failed to respond to the Chronicle with more information regarding the amount of reports made by female students who have felt unsafe on campus due to stalking, assaults, etc. and the number of emergency call buttons on campus.
If you need to reach Cypress College Campus Safety please call, (714) 484-7387 for 24 Hours/Day, 7 Days/Week, 365 Days/Year.