December 19, 2018

Campus lighting common issue on Delegates’ Agenda

Since 2003, campus safety has been presented six times in front of administration at Delegates’ Agenda. Over half of the issues presented since 2003 dealt with the lack of lighting around campus.

Public Safety Officer Liza Schultheis said having more lighting around campus will benefit students.

“Lighting is key at night…where it’s dark it can be dangerous,” Liza Schultheis said.

Schultheis agrees with student concerns about lighting around campus. She said Webster University should eliminate dark spots around campus to ensure no attackers hide in areas where students cannot see.

“Nighttime is not a time to be afraid. We shouldn’t have to be,” Schultheis said.

At the most recent Delegates’ Agenda response administration suggested students take advantage of safety programs Webster University offers. Including Public Safety’s  24 hour escort system and Rape Agression Defense class.

R.A.D. is a nationwide program that teaches self-defense education for all ages and genders. Webster University only offers R.A.D. for women, providing both basic and advanced R.A.D. classes. The beginner R.A.D. class focuses on self-defense techniques.  After completing the beginner class, students may then choose to take the advanced class that focuses on self-defense where a weapon is involved. Both classes are offered as eight-week, one-credit courses.

Schultheis recommends students take safety precautions. She said that even though Webster is a safe campus, it does not mean violence cannot find us. Schultheis recommends students take a Rape Aggression Defense class.

Webster University student Nadja Cajic is currently in the advanced R.A.D.class.

“I took the class because I wanted to feel more prepared before going to Europe,” Cajic said.

Cajic took R.A.D. before studying abroad. Cajic said it helped her be more aware when walking back to the dorms at night.

“I definitely recommend (the class) for anybody…it just makes you more confident and more aware of your surroundings,” Cajic said.

Webster University guidance counselor Gladys Smith said taking a R.A.D. class should not be the only precaution a student takes to avoid sexual assault.

According to The Center For Women And Families, 73 percent of rape cases are committed by someone the victim knows, and not a random attacker.

“Lighting around campus or getting call boxes is not going to stop sexual assault… being aware of what sexual assault is will,” Smith said.

Smith encourages students to go to substance abuse and drinking education programs. She said the majority of sexual assaults begin when the victim is inebriated.

“Women are at parties and they drink. If they did not give consent then it is rape,” Smith said.

According to Smith, consent means everyone in the situation agrees while still being in a sober state of mind. Smith reminds students that saying nothing is equal to saying no.

Campus safety was brought up in Delegates’ Agenda in 2003 and 2004 and again in 2010, 2012, and 2013.

“It’s very sad the way the world is changing-it’s at the point where you always have to be aware,” Schultheis said.

Schultheis believes students are now taking their personal safety more seriously. She said paying attention is the most important thing to keep in mind when being safe. Though Schultheis thinks students should be aware, she thinks Webster University is a safe campus.

“I have worked every shift that (public safety) has and never once have I been fearful for my safety,” Schultheis said. “I’ve walked this campus at three in the morning, I’ve walked it at three in the afternoon, I’ve walked this campus at 11 at night and I’ve never once been worried, nervous, or scared.”

Student Government Association President Michael Grosch thinks safety will be an ongoing topic on Delegates’ Agenda.

Students discuss topics,then vote on what they want to present to administration. The five issues with the most votes are selected for Delegates’ Agenda. Grosch said the best part of Delegates’ Agenda is that it starts a conversation with the administration.

“I do believe the administration has noted our concern for safety on campus,” Grosch said.

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