Campus safety on the rise

During the 2014-2015 school year, Union College conducted a study researching campus safety and sexual harassment. The survey was lead out by Dr. Trudy Holmes-Caines, professor of psychology at Union College.

Colleges and universities are mandated by the federal government under Title IX to offer this survey, and for good reason. It helps administrators understand how safe students feel on campus and flag areas of concern.

Overall, the results of the campus safety survey shows students feel “very safe” on Union College’s campus.

“People in general talked about how safe they felt,” says Dr. Holmes-Caines. “On the scale of ‘not at all’ to ‘very safe,’ the results were mostly ‘yes’, or ‘I agree.’ They seemed confident administrators would take response.”

Some factors responsible for improving campus safety include better lighting on college pathways and in parking lots, the Lincoln Police Department substation in Rees Hall and our Campus Security patrols. I spoke to a few students to ask if they felt safe walking across campus at night, and they all agreed that safety was not an issue for them.

Shayna Lambrecht, a junior social work major, said, “I feel very safe here. I think it’s just that Christ-centered atmosphere and the sense of familiarity that helps it feel safe.”

“I feel safe,” commented Samuel Dinzey, a sophomore studying business. “It has to do with light. I feel safer in the areas that have the most lights.”

Jesse Evert, sophomore language arts education major, added that she feels safe “because whenever I’m out I always see security and I know they’re always on call if I need them.”

Along with ensuring campus safety, Dr. Holmes-Caines shared she hopes to help educate the campus concerning sexual harassment policies. She wants to let those who may not feel safe or who have dealt with uncomfortable situations know what they can do to protect themselves.

“We need to give more training. How to be aware if there’s sexual assault, starting up the ‘No means No’ campaign, and helping young men and women understand what it is to set boundaries,” Holmes-Caine told me. “We’re hoping to set out educational posters about these kinds of situations.”

If you find yourself facing any of these mentioned issues, the first thing you should do is tell someone you trust.

“Your deans, the student services office, your academic advisor or your Heartscan mentor. . . We want you to talk to someone you trust. Let someone on campus know and we will start an investigation right away,” said Dr. Holmes-Caines.

Every case is treated with complete confidentiality; top priority is helping protect the student involved. The most important thing is getting help to those who need it, and to prevent further incidents from occurring.

Overall a large part of the survey’s positive results can be attributed not only to increase safety standards, but also Union’s sense of community.

“A big part of it is the Union College spirit and people connecting with each other that helps to generate that feeling of safety,” Dr. Holmes-Caines said.

As Union continues to keep that spirit of community, you are encouraged to speak out if you have something to say. Questions, comments or concerns regarding sexual harassment policies or campus safety, can be directed towards Dr. Holmes-Caines at 402.486.2600 ext. 2312 or the head of Campus Security, Ron Dodds, at 402.486.2600 ext 2533.

Graci Escobar is a junior English major with an emphasis on speaking and writing. She loves cats, napping, reading, cuddling cats, browsing independently unpublished stories, binge-watching Netflix, and petting cats. Born and raised here in Lincoln, Graci would love to see the ocean more than seven times and hopes to one day hug every cat in the world.