How To: Stay Safe Around Campus

by Deanna Marano

Resident hall emergency lights. (Photo Cred: The Siskiyou/Kelsi Fasano)

Resident hall emergency lights. (Photo Cred: The Siskiyou/Kelsi Fasano)

Ashland, Ore. – Unfortunately, there have been reports of assault and harassment happening on both the Ashland and Medford campuses over the past few weeks. These events have left some of us a bit shaken up. While it is a bit scary to be alone on campus, there are ways to help prevent an unpleasant situation and to stay safe.

  • Before leaving, let someone know where you’re headed and tell them you’ll let them know when you arrive at your destination. Whether it’s texting a friend, or mentioning something to a professor, always let someone know where you’re going.
  • Try to have your keys ready before you leave for your destination, and put your cellphone in your pocket. It’s important to keep your attention on your surroundings when walking as it shows any possible attackers that you’re aware of the situation. Having your phone put away is also a way of hiding that you have any valuable belongings on your person, hopefully avoiding any theft. Make sure your phone is still accessible though in case of emergency.
  • Avoid walking in dimly lit or dark areas, especially alone. It’s best to have a friend, classmate, or other companion while walking at night, but if that’s not possible, try to stick to the lit parts of your path and/or more populated portions of the area.
  • Know basic self-defense moves. Don’t be afraid to poke an eye, kick a shin, or even use your keys as a weapon if necessary and make as much noise as you can to draw attention, and hopefully help, to you.
  • If you sense someone is suspicious, step into a public space until they’ve passed, and/or even call a friend for a ride. If this isn’t possible, keep your head up and move to the opposite side of the street or walkway. It’s more important to put yourself out of a vulnerable situation than it is to appear confident. If this person also switches sides, try not to panic. Switch sides again nonchalantly. If they switch again, it’s likely this person is following you. Don’t be too proud to run and/or call emergency services.
  • Always trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t ignore that. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

While there’s unfortunately no way of ensuring absolute safety, knowing basic tips like these will hopefully help. The most important things to remember are to just be aware of your surroundings and always think ahead. Preparing for the worst may sound silly, but no one is immune from an attack of any kind. Your safety is important, and should be a top priority. Our university makes every attempt at providing a safe campus for its students, but we need to look out for ourselves, and friends, too. Knowing these tips, don’t hesitate to check on friends. It’s important that we all work together to keep each other safe, whether that’s by offering a friend a ride or making sure a classmate isn’t walking home alone. The seemingly smallest gestures can sometimes make the greatest differences. Be safe!

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