After the assault that was reported in Bishop Hall at the end of the fall semester, several students living in residence halls voiced concern. The Directors of the University’s Housing and Life Department have taken several measures to guarantee the safety of all students in the dorms and on campus.
“We do many things for student’s safety,” Director of University Housing and Life Tom Martin said, “There are residence assistants and we work closely with the University Police Department.”
Martin also stated that RAs and UPD make several rounds throughout the night in all the Dorm Halls.
RAs, Associate Director Gina Smith said, go through training before the semester starts so that they know how to deal with any issues a student may face.
“They come in a week earlier and go through student safety, health and wellness, and UPD presentations,” Smith said, “There’s different sessions on discipline, fire extinguisher use, and fire safety.”
All the residence assistants are also taught not only policies and procedures for different situations but also how to be resource assistants to students. They must know where any important office can be found.
“We do room checks and last semester we would go around every Monday and ask if everything was OK with their rooms,” RA Zinnie Offerdile said, “We try to keep an open communication.”
Caroline Adam, an RA at University Village, gave students some advice about living in dorms. “They have to be safe, call their RA,” Adam said, “Knowing when something bad is going to happen and getting help.”
Although the department does the best that they can by holding fire drills though out the semester and always having someone on duty in the front desk of all the dorm halls, it is also up to the students to ensure their own well-being.
“We do a lot but we also expect student to have common sense,” Martin said, “They need to be aware of their own surroundings.”
Students are partly to blame for some of the incidents that occurred last semester. “Girls get in trouble because they open the doors,” Martin said. “It’s like Dr. Tallant says, we don’t want to run a police station here. We try to keep a line through privacy and safety.”
Martin also had some tips for students. “Pick your friends wisely.”