Campus Safety

In college, as in life, it's safety first.

Many changes come with your move to college, and these changes are often what will foster your own personal growth and lead to experiences that you will look back on fondly for the rest of you life. From learning new social skills, to broadening your ability to think critically, to just plain having fun, college can be an adventure. Like any adventure, though, staying safe is important. To help you plan ahead for residence hall life, or to take stock of your current situation if you already live on a college campus, we gladly offer a college campus safety audit.

Your complete campus safety involves a number of different aspects. From simply locking your door to protecting your possessions, to knowing an escape route in case of a fire, it always helps to plan ahead. After all, your biggest advantages in staying safe are preparation and prevention. Below are several tidbits of advice to help you prepare for college campus safety. You will learn how to acquire campus safety information from schools that you are interested in, as well as get valuable advice from a campus safety expert. You will also learn a few tips on how to address campus fire safety and fight back in the event that your physical safety is ever threatened.

Campus Safety and the Jeanne Clery Act

Originally enacted in 1990, the Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities across the United States to openly disclose information regarding crime that takes place on or around their campuses. As the Internet became widely accessible in the mid-1990s, many colleges and universities took advantage of this opportunity to make it easy for prospective students to access college campus safety and crime statistics right on their school web site.

Since college and university campuses are generally more crime-free than the general public, many schools tout their records on college campus safety with pride. For certain schools that are closely related in terms of location, the difference will often focus on campus safety as a way to win more students. To do this, many schools offer short seminars from campus safety officers right in the residence halls. Here students can learn ways to prevent potential crime situations, as well as what to do in the event that you are the victim of a crime.

Campus Fire Safety

Of special concern to those living on campus is fire safety, which is of paramount importance. As some residence halls can house hundreds, if not thousands of students, the carelessness or oversight of just one can quickly lead to a fire emergency situation. Very early in your first semester, you will be informed by your resident adviser just what to do to in the even of a fire. You will be given clear direction on which exit you should use, and where secondary exits are located. Additionally, fire drills are often conducted with timed evacuations so that residence hall staff members can continually evaluate and re-evaluate campus fire safety measures with special focus on the safest and fastest ways to get students out of a fire and to a safe location.

Just as with other college campus safety measures, when it comes to campus fire safety, knowing your surroundings is a tremendous asset. A map of the hall and directions on where to go are a great start, but they are just that: a start. Take the time to get to know your surroundings. Got for a tour of the building and locate all of the exits and stairwells. When an emergency happens, preparation can help to avoid panic.

And since fires aren’t just limited to the residence halls, the same advice goes for all other locations on campus where you will spend time. From lecture halls to cafeterias to bookstores and university centers, finding the exits and stairwells just takes a few minutes. Ideally, you will never have to use this information, but having it if you need it is a distinct advantage when it comes to campus fire safety.

Campus Safety: Fighting Back Against Sexual Victimization

Making attempts to prevent sexual harassment is an important component to campus safety. Sexual harassment, in a legal sense, covers any unwelcome verbal or physical sexual advances. Most situations of sexual misconduct on college campuses come from an individual that the victim already knows and has some sort of relationship with. This relationship, however, can be an advantage in preventing or stopping sexual harassment.

Your biggest advantage is taking control of the situation when you can. By being assertive and making it known that explicit comments and/or suggestions are not welcome, you have the potential to diffuse a possible situation before it begins. If you can deliver this message in an e-mail or have some other record of your request, this is also helpful. Additionally, making your friends aware of the situation is also advantageous. They may be able to help you with advice or work with you to deliver your message of disdain toward someone making sexual advances. In the unfortunate event of a physical assault, your friends will be better able to help you in legal proceedings.

If you feel it is a necessary step, you can also alert campus safety to the issue and request their help. College is a time of exploring new freedoms; don’t let another person’s unwelcome advances get in the way of your personal growth. Fight back.


This article was written by Jeff McGuire

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