Being safe is critical to one’s survival and is something that every living creature strives for, and because college is the first period in which a person lives away from home, a student is no exception to this.
According to the 2014 Campus Climate survey for Keene State College, 87 percent of the 1,139 students surveyed said they feel safe on campus. Seventy seven percent of students said they had someone to talk to when a problem arises. However, 25 percent of the women surveyed felt they had a personal experience where they felt unwelcome and unsafe, compared to 18 percent of men. Eighty-six percent of women felt physically safe on campus, while 93 percent of men felt physically safe on campus.
According to Campus Safety Director Amanda Guthorn, their department gets a handful of calls regarding concerns of someone’s safety or hazardous situations. In 2015 Guthorn said they received 10,952 calls which averages to about 30 a day. “We are a little bit different than your town police department because we are right here and we want people to learn that we are here to help them,” said Guthorn.
Stationed throughout Keene State’s campus, there are emergency buttons with blue lights in case a student needs to call for help. Guthorn says that it is rare that a student pushes them for an emergency, but when they do, they are immediately connected to Campus Safety’s phone line. If the person is in distress, Campus Safety dispatches someone to that area within two minutes. If Campus Safety was called in concerns of a dangerous person, they usually have a police officer who comes with them to the scene.
KSC Senior Katharine Vaccaro said that Campus Safety isn’t just there to get people in trouble. “They are pretty intensive and pretty focused on what’s best for you and not worried about getting you in trouble. A lot of people assume that Campus Safety is there to get you in trouble, and they are really just trying to make sure the campus is safe,” said Vaccaro.
Guthorn said students should not hesitate to call Campus Safety because they are afraid of getting in trouble. According to Guthorn, students that call about an intoxicated person in need of help or other similar situations are protected by the Good Samaritan Policy.
Guthorn stated,“We want people to feel okay about calling us. We don’t want people not to call because they are worried about getting in trouble. If somebody’s ill and at risk, getting them help is the first thing.”
Resident Assistant (RA) Danny Stavens says he feels that the campus is safe in general. “I would say that it’s pretty safe in the on-campus area…because even if you’re out in the middle of the night, campus safety is always driving around,” said Stavens. According to Stavens, during RA training they learn different protocols in the case someone comes to them as victims of sexual assault.
Stavens says that if someone comes to an RA about being sexually or physically assaulted, they talk to them about it and ask what they want to do. They also cover what their next step should be while guiding the student in the right direction. Stavens said however, he felt the programs could offer more.
“There could be more because I feel (sexual and physical assault awareness programs) happen especially during the beginning of the year during the orientation, but then as the year progresses, there is less of an awareness spread about it,” he said. Stavens continued, “So I feel that as the semester goes on, there should be more awareness spread. It couldn’t hurt to have more.”
Stavens said that the counseling center is helpful for any student having problems with issues in regards to violence prevention. Stavans said, “So far, every student that I’ve come across that has been to the counseling center to get help or anything with that type of problem has had a positive experience.”
Katherine Glosser can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.