I have always respected the College of William and Mary’s community of trust. I am part of the Undergraduate Student Conduct Council and am involved in several organizations on campus. Even though I highly value this community of trust, about a week ago this all changed. It was not because of the College community — it was because of the citizens of Williamsburg.
On Sunday Nov. 14, my car was broken into. My driver’s side window was shattered, and my GPS was stolen. I had parked my car on Harrison Avenue, not thinking someone would commit such a crime in broad daylight. I called the police and waited patiently for them. The police officer was very nice and helpful, and told me that similar occurrences have been happening on campus — usually at 1 or 2 a.m., not 6 p.m. —probably committed by non-students. The officer took notes, gave me her card, and left while I stared at my windowless car.
This incident has left me a bit jaded in my view of the College Community. Even if this was committed by people outside of the College’s walls, I still cannot believe it could happen here. A week before this happened, the police chief at the College spoke at a Student Conduct Council meeting. He told us that we should not just leave our laptops out in Swem, our dorm room doors unlocked, or take other similar actions that could possibly result in theft. I ignored him, thinking, “This is William and Mary. We don’t worry about things like that.” Now, I think we should.
During Freshmen Orientation, both the Undergraduate Student Honor Council and the Undergraduate Student Conduct Council tell students about the community they are entering, emphasizing that they should feel comfortable in our community and trust their fellow students. This idea is perpetuated throughout our college lives, as we become members of this community. Last year, during my freshman year, my roommate and I never locked our door. During exams, I left my laptop and all my books in the study lounge of my dorm. I felt that the people in my dorm were trustworthy and honest. I knew that no one would steal from me, and they never did. But this innocence should be changed to accommodate the fact that unfortunate things can and will happen. However, this realization should not mean that the community of trust is broken.
Trust is vital to our name and reputation, and individuals from outside the College should not disrupt it. As students at the College, we have a responsibility to maintain this trust and watch out for our fellow students. Together, I know that we can prevent events like vandalism, the recent muggings and other things that are not the fault of college students. We are the Tribe, and I know we can stick together to stay united and maintain this wonderful thing that is the College’s atmosphere of trust.
It upsets me that my car was broken into. It upsets me that someone broke my window, which will cost a few hundred dollars to fix, for a GPS that was worth about a hundred dollars. It upsets me that I have to think differently about this campus now. However, I refuse to let this incident cause me to think poorly about our community. Someone did steal from me, but I assume it wasn’t a person from this campus. I still believe in the community of trust, I just know that we all need to be a bit more cautious.