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Benjamin case opens eyes

A tragedy in VSU history has finally come to a resolution.

Last week, Darien Meheux was sentenced to life in prison for murdering VSU freshman Jasmine Benjamin. The two graduated from the same high school in 2012 and began attending VSU in the fall.

In November, Meheux strangled Benjamin in a study room in Georgia Hall. She was left there for approximately 12 hours before someone noticed she was dead.

Meheux eventually turned himself in and spent a year in the Lowndes County Jail.

Although the conviction may give closure to people who knew Benjamin, the incident is a reminder for VSU students to take caution while on campus and to be on the lookout for fellow students.

If someone is showing inappropriate signs of aggression or anger, it’s best to take proper action to prevent a situation like this from happening. Similarly, if you or someone you know is in a relationship that shows signs of danger or abuse, it is imperative to alert authorities.

Students and faculty may get emergency help by calling the VSUPD, and now they may contact the newly-formed VSU Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) to report disturbing or threatening behavior.

The BIT is comprised of the VSUPD, Housing and Residence Life, Human Resources, Academic Affairs, the Dean of Students Office, Student Conduct, and the Counseling Center, and according to its page on the VSU website, its role is “to begin the process of coordinating information so potentially threatening situations or individuals may be recognized and identified before reaching a crisis stage.”

The formation of the BIT could prove to be helpful for students who witness alarming occurrences but don’t think they are urgent enough to contact the VSUPD.

Marked by frequent campus alerts sent out by the University over the past few months, it may seem as though on-campus crime is on the rise, but VSU administration seems to be brainstorming ways to increase campus safety.

One lesson VSU students should learn from this misfortune is that incidents like this can be prevented. Sometimes, instead of “minding your business,” it’s best to speak up when you notice something is wrong.

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