Do you feel safe on campus?

Written by,
Ashley Snyder, Executive Editor
Tulsi Patil, Managing Editor

In the wake of the assaults in the past few weeks at UAA, there is a growing concern for students’ safety on campus. While one man allegedly punched four victims in the face — though he claimed to be dancing — another allegedly attempted to forcefully kiss seemingly random women on campus. While UAA has fairly good safety ratings, such assaults sometimes raise a hint of fear in students about being safe on campus.

“I worry about safety sometimes especially after all of the shootings and rapes and other stuff you keep hearing about in other colleges,” said junior Caleb Markuson.

All of the victims appear to have been randomly selected — just students going about their daily business and being attacked without cause. Both assaulters in the past two attacks were male and nearly all of the victims were female.

“It’s disgusting. That guy should be listed as a sexual predator so that he actually suffers for his stupid decisions,” sophomore Ashleigh Davis said. “If someone did that to me I would not hesitate to totally do some serious damage to his manhood.”

According to the 2013 Campus Security and Fire Safety Report, between 2010 and 2012, there have been eight cases of sexual assault and six cases of aggravated assault in housing and on the main campus. These statistics seem to be on the incline this year with two cases coming to light in just the first two months of the year. As students ourselves, we begin to worry for our own security as well as our friends on campus.

For women who would like to learn some basic skills in order to fend off an assault, UAA offers a women-only Rape Aggression Defense course, where attendees learn the basics of self-defense. More information on this program can be found here: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/upd/rad-training.cfm. For men and women, learning skills like those taught in martial arts can also be a good way to defend one’s self or stop an attacker.

Whether on campus, in the residence halls, walking trails or even waiting at the bus stop, it is important to be prepared and able to handle a situation if it rises. If anything suspicious arises, don’t hesitate to call the police immediately. Call boxes are located around campus and in case of an emergency, UPD advises you to call 911 directly. You can also call UPD at 907-786-1120 or visit their office in the Eugene Short Hall.

“I’ve been seeing the (university) police around campus a lot lately. I wonder if there is more going on than what we know about and we just don’t know about it because they are so quick to handle the situation,” said sophomore Lana Peterson.

Witnessing an assault, whether sexual or otherwise, can sometimes be equally traumatic as being victimized. However, UPD urges students to come forward if they witness any kind of criminal offense. They offer the Silent Witness program where confidential reports of crimes can be made on their website, so as to ensure your protection and safety as well. However, in order to report crimes in progress, they recommend calling 911 in case of emergencies.

We want to feel safe when we are on campus. We are already worrying enough about studying, grades and graduating without having to worry about whether or not we will be kissed or punched randomly in the hallways. Be safe everyone!