UNA Student Safety Concerns

In light of recent events, personal safety on campus has become a top concern of UNA students.

After a string of Lion Alerts alerting students of an alleged sexual assault, a strong-armed robbery, and a few other incidents, students have began to take action to protect themselves against crime.

When asked on Twitter what UNA students were doing to make themselves feel safe, one UNA student responded she was transferring schools. However, not everyone is going to that extreme.

“I am buying a taser,” said Deandra Elliot, a social work major at UNA. “I have also become more aware of my surroundings. I do whatever it takes to not be alone on campus after dark, and if I have to be on campus after dark, I use the buddy system.”

The¬†official¬†policy of UNA prohibits weapons such as tasers, knives over a certain length, and obviously firearms. Guns are still not permitted on campus, but Bob Pastula, UNA’s Chief of Police, has said otherwise about other weapons for self-protection.

“I don’t have a problem with students carrying tasers for personal safety,” said Pastula. “Knives cannot be over eleven inches long when spread out. Students should follow the guidelines set by the handbook about knives.”

Besides carrying protection, students are being encouraged to sign up for RAD, which is Rape Aggression Defense Training. This class is open only to females, but Pastula hopes that UNA will offer self-defense classes to everyone in the near future.

“Another way students can feel safe is to use SNAP,” Pastula said. SNAP, Students Nighttime Auxillary Patrol, is a nightly escort service staffed by students that will take a person anywhere on campus. Escorts are available by calling 256-765-HELP during the hours of 8:30 PM to 2:00 AM.

“It’s not just campus I don’t feel safe on,” said Whitney Cooper, a senior at UNA. “The city of Florence has had quite a few incidents that has just made me not feel safe to be alone in my home. For my personal protection at home, I do have a gun.”

As the university police work to improve safety situations, by adding cameras to the parking deck and increasing patrol in certain areas, students should still use their best judgement when being on campus.

“You never know what day someone will decide to lose their minds,” Elliot said. “I want to feel safe where I pay to go to school, so if that means carrying around a taser or a can of pepper spray, I will do what I have to do protect myself.”