EDITORIAL: It is safe to say that RUPD has your back
Students learn self-defense amid recent campus violence reports
As we move into yet another month of school, it is important to recognize that many people may not have realized that September was National Campus Safety Awareness Month. Rutgers Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships took part and established a week out of the month to spread awareness about the potential dangers of living on campus or off-campus at Rutgers. The week was also dedicated to teaching students how they can stay safe around campus.
One of the events was the “Knights’ Watch Academy,” a day split up into a resource fair and a self-defense training program. The Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) brought representatives from their force to volunteer their time to the resource fair. These representatives not only gave out informational flyers about RUPD’s resources and services, but they also gave out red stress balls that were shaped like bottles of pepper spray. This quirky prop showed a lighter side of the serious issues that were being presented.
It would be safe to say that the most important aspect of the safety week and the National Campus Safety Awareness Month was not necessarily the self-defense training (although it was an extremely vital component) but rather the information on the resources that RUPD and Rutgers as a university offer.
One of these resources is called “Security Escorts,” where students can call in to have escorts walk them to their cars, dorms or a bus stop if they ever feel unsafe. The Knight Mover is another escort-esque initiative that the University offers to students to help them feel protected. The Knight Mover is a bus that transports students when regular buses are not running. Students who may be out all night studying or with friends do not have to worry about feeling unsafe traveling home late at night when the University has accommodated for them to have a ride home.
The RUPD’s biggest message at the event was that they were “’here 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the whole Rutgers community.’” Whether it is as an escort or as a person they can text or call when they feel uncomfortable or in danger, the RUPD allows students to have one less thing to worry about.
Safety programs and initiatives such as the ones RUPD has highlighted are usually only successful when the public is aware of them. The University could have the most effective safety program ever, but it would be useless if the student body is not made aware of it. This is why resource fairs and events similar to them are so vital to the students taking full advantage of the programs that are available for them. With the news of crime on and off campus seeming to be a common occurrence, programs like this are essential to creating an atmosphere that shows that the University cares about its students. Rutgers can be intimidating to some because of the fact that it interweaves so much with the City of New Brunswick. Unlike most college campuses that are closed off and contained, Rutgers can be considered an area that is open. And even if students who live off campus may be in safe areas, it can be easy to feel otherwise. For many students, living at Rutgers is their first time living on their own and without parents. The RUPD is making it possible that these students feel protected at all times, even when situations may arise that might try to challenge that.