Staying Safe on Campus
Every fall, thousands of students, just like yourself, embark on a new year, where you’ll attend new classes, meet new friends, and partake in many fun and exciting campus activities. Whatever you choose to participate in, your school’s number one priority is to keep you safe! Although there are policies and procedures in place to keep you away from danger, there are many things that you can do to help ensure your own safety as well.
Get to Know Your Campus Safety Office
Campus safety and security offices are found on many campuses and they are responsible for the delivery of safety and security measures needed to protect you, other students, faculty, staff, and visitors on a daily basis. These public safety officers will keep detailed logs of all incidents that occur and will investigate matters as they see fits. Campus safety officers are not the same as police officers, but some larger universities employ their own law enforcement officers. Campus safety and security assist with a variety of tasks such as:
Administrative Duties: Campus safety assists with issuing student identifications, and parking permits and will utilize the emergency notification system (text messages, emails and phone calls to alert students and others about potential danger or threats including inclement weather, wires being down, or a dangerous situation).
Patrolling and Monitoring Campus: Campus security is in charge of monitoring call-boxes on campus that enable you to contact the department. They will also respond and investigate complaints, emergencies and look into suspicious behaviors. Security often engages in hourly, random safety patrols of the campus and continuously monitors all activity via surveillance systems.
Assisting Students After Hours: Security can escort or walk you back to your dorm or house if you feel uncomfortable. They often offer free transportation to students at night or during the weekend. Security can assist with unlocking or jump-starting motor vehicles, too.
Educating Others: Campus safety and security partners with students to provide seminars or training on safety tactics, personal defense, and how to avoid becoming a target.
6 On-Campus & Personal Safety Tips
Whether you’re walking to class or going to a party, there are many ways to ensure your own safety!
Know your Resources: When on campus, be aware of your resources and know how to contact campus security if you need to. Make sure you save their contact information in your phone in case you would ever need it!
Be Proactive: Locking your home and car door at night and making sure your windows are secure can prohibit any intruder.
Know your Surroundings: Take some friends on a walk or car-ride with you to learn about the neighborhoods around your campus and where your local police station is. Utilize the buddy system when possible, and try not to walk alone at night.
Pay attention to your surroundings: If you are on a walk, on a bus, or a ride-share (like Uber or Lyft), pay attention to who and what is around you. Know what stop you need to get off on. Try to focus on your surroundings and not on your phone.
Emergency Planning: Posting a list of contact numbers in your dorm can be helpful if your roommate needed to contact someone for you. Keeping cash on-hand in case of an emergency is also important; tuck it away in a purse or obscure place to ensure you do not lose it.
Self Defense: Carrying a whistle or personal safety alarm can warn off assailants. Pepper spray can also be of use, however, some campuses do not allow it. Lastly, enrolling in a self-defense seminar can be empowering and educational; knowing how to physically protect yourself from others is a great skill to have.
Safety in Social Settings
Don’t Post Your Whereabouts: When going out and about, let your close friend(s) know where you’re headed and make sure you don’t post or tag your location. This will help ensure that nobody follows you.
Make a Plan: Discuss with your friends expectations of an activity. If you’re going to a party, talk about when you might want to leave and how (are you taking an uber? The bus?) and plan so that you all have a secure plan of exit and everyone is on the same page. Try to make sure you know where your friends are at when you’re out together so everyone stays safe.
Plan B: When going out with friends, make sure you have a back-up plan that allows you to safely exit a situation you feel uncomfortable in.
Protect your Drink: Always keep an eye or better yet, a hand on your drink at all times. This will prevent anybody from possibly tainting the drink with a substance.
Know your Limits: When drinking, it is so important to know your limit. Pay attention to how many drinks you and your friends are having and how you are feeling.
On and Off-Campus Resources: Your campus has many resources that you can use to stay safe. Explore these options. This may look like security escorts, after-hour buses, and other student wellbeing services.
If something happens: If something happens to you, please know it is not your fault. If you have been assaulted, contact your school’s safety office as well as the police to file a report. If you would like more information, please see Sexual Assault Overview.
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