Tips and advice on how to react to stay safe, who to call and how to react in emergencies.
College is something many people fantasize about: the idea of being on your own, meeting new people and going to parties are a few thoughts students have. Although all of these are fun and great, many incoming freshman students forget about all the risks and changes that come along with being on their own. Kent State University prides itself on the safe and comfortable environment it provides for students. Here are just a few of the resources that Kent State offers:
IN THE DORMS
Safety for students living in the residence halls is of utmost importance at Kent State. To ensure a safe environment, Residence Services requires the entire university community to work at keeping the residence halls safe for students.
All of the resident halls on campus are locked 24/7 but students have access to the buildings by key cards, said Jill Church, director of Residence Services. Visitors are allowed but they must be escorted by the students at all times.
Student Security Staff patrol the resident halls between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. to ensure the safety of all students. The Student Security Staff also provides an escort service for students who want to be escorted on campus from one point to another instead of walking alone across campus. Students can contact the escort service by calling 330-672-7004.
Students can also bring their electronic devices to Safety Services and they will put identification on it. If the device is ever lost, stolen or misplaced, Safety Services can identify who it belongs to, Church said. This is the same for students who want to register their bikes.
“Like any other community, we will have the occasional theft,” she said. “Usually something will turn up, but we do encourage students to lock up when they leave their room to prevent this from happening.”
The Kent State Fire Prevention Department enforces all fire codes and standards of the university in order to ensure the safety of every students. The department tests and maintains all life safety systems on the main campus as well as the regional campuses.
“Anything that has to do with life safety, we do it,” said Edward Moisio, fire safety coordinator of Fire Safety Services.
The department inspects all buildings for fire hazards and checks emergency lights and fire doors, Moisio said. The Fire Prevention Department helps resident assistants inspect each room throughout the semester. Moisio said the number one violation is extension cords.
This past school year there were roughly 223 fire alarms that went off, but no actual fires occurred. Moisio said cooking in the dorms is the number one cause for fire alarms to go off.
“Most of the fire alarms on campus have a voice system that gives students instructions on what to do,” he said. “My message to everybody on campus is to listen to the message and follow the instructions given.”
Kent State University is equipped with a fully accredited police department with approximately 32 sworn police officers who patrol the campus 24 hours a day. It also has joint jurisdiction with Kent City Police and sometimes patrols off-campus, said Michquel Penn, community resource officer of the Kent State Police Department. The Kent City Police and the Kent State Police are both on the same radio frequency and are also able to communicate with the Security Aids.
If a student calls 911 while on campus, the call will be directed to The Kent State Police Department, Penn said. The university is also scattered with a blue-light emergency phone systems that allow students to connect directly with a 911 operator by hitting a single button. These phones also track the location of the call and send a Kent State Police officer to the site immediately.
Kent State University also sends mass notifications, known as Flash ALERTS, to students via text. These alerts are sent to subscribers immediately after critical information is learned. Students can sign up for Flash ALERTS through the university’s website.
Penn said that one of the biggest problems the department has to deal with is theft.
“Students tend to leave belongings unattended and people will just walk by and take it,” she said. “It’s a crime of opportunity.”
Penn also stressed that students need to be cautious. When walking at night students need to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention. She said students should walk in groups and in well-lit areas.
“Don’t take shortcuts and stay where there are other people,” she said. “Whoever you arrive with, make sure you leave with the same group. Don’t leave people behind.”
Other than the buddy system, students can take advantage of the many taxi services around campus. For a small price, a taxi will pick you up and take you home.
There are also organizations that provide rides to students. Phi Delta Theta, a fraternity on campus, provides a service called Brothers Against Drunk Driving (B.A.D.D.). Freshman history major Justin Firehammer, a brother of Phi Delta Theta, said that every Friday and Saturday night two brothers provide rides to anyone in need.
The Kent State Police Department also hold safety and awareness workshops that are free to students, said Penn. There are also different support services for students to get involved in, such as Step Up Speak Out, which is a campaign for suicide and violence prevention, and also SRVSS, which is Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services.
“Take advantage of the workshops and everything Kent has to offer,” Penn said. “Also, don’t be too trusting. Take time to get to know people and be cautious.”
Kristen Kobe was a beat reporter for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her [email protected]