Campus Safety

Campus Safety

Many of us are concerned about whether college and university students will get COVID-19 at school and then spread it across campus, in the wider community, or both. These concerns make sense, because the pandemic has claimed more than 658,000 lives in the US. Fortunately, there are safety guidelines these institutions can tailor to fit their needs.

But this time of year has been dangerous for women on campus since long before COVID-19. August to November is when about 50% of campus sexual violence incidents take place. It’s called the “red zone,” and here is a very informative article about it.

If you, or someone you know, is on a college campus right now, tell them to be security-minded. They can be a student, staff, or faculty member. If they live or work near a college or university they should also be mindful of their safety.

Women should be especially careful about how much they have to drink, not leaving a drink unprotected, and clearly saying no when they don’t want to stay in a situation where they are not comfortable. Find more safety tips here.

Men can also be victims of sexual assault, so believe and support a man who reports being attacked. And, as I wrote in Rent-A-Cop Reboot, anyone can have a stalker. Watch out for a person who goes to extremes to get close to you physically, emotionally, or virtually.

No matter who you are, you must have escape plans for a variety of situations. At the heart of your plans will be your ability to:

  • Trust your instincts. If your “gut” says the situation is not right, get out of it immediately.
  • Know what you’ll say. Whether you’re security-minded or a security professional, knowing what to say and how to say it at the right time can be a life-saver when you’re in a potentially dangerous situation. If you have to, write a few short phrases and practice saying them out loud.
  • Keep your phone charged. If you need to call for help you’ll be ready.
  • Have a lifeline. A family member, friend, teacher, or school staff person who you are sure you can trust to discuss your thinking when you consider getting into a particular situation or relationship. Also speak to this person about how to handle it if you have questions, or they will be available to help you deal with things if anything goes wrong.

If anything does go wrong, every university has police, counseling, and other resources you can go to for help. Use them.

To have a great college experience you do not have to attend every party, do a lot of drinking, or experiment with drugs. You also don’t have to agree to social or personal experiences that you don’t feel ready for. Your top 2 words: Study and Safety. Anything else is extra credit.