How to Stay Safe on Campus

Why This Matters | Heather Walton | April 23, 2016

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On April 8, 2016, Mason Patriots received a third Timely Warning e-mail from the Mason Police Department.

What is a Timely Warning e-mail?

It’s a notification sent by the university police department “to alert the campus community about crimes that pose a serious or continuing threat to safety,” (as said in the e-mail).  This time, the e-mail informed students of a sexual assault attempt at Lot A on April 7, more information can be found here.

Yes, Fairfax county is one of the safest counties in Virginia, but that does not mean students are safe from sexual assault, robbery, and that scary “m” word. But, I’m not here to lecture you all about the problem, how it needs to be stopped, and then we do nothing about it.

Instead, I’m going to suggest a few ways to help you stay safe on campus.

There are many opportunities on and near campus that can help make sure you stay safe while walking to you dorm after your late night class.

But, before we do that, let’s crunch the numbers, so we can know what exactly we Patriots are up against. According to college factual the crime ( rate around George Mason is about average (around a C- for just the campus, but an A- for the overall area). Of all the crimes reported at Mason about 22.5% of them were forcible sexual assault charges and the remaining 77.5% is burglary.


Despite those numbers, things happen, and they can still happen to you.

So, here are some tips and opportunities you can use to stay safe on campus.

  1. Use the buddy system: This was invented for a reason, and not for little kindergartners. If you go in packs you are less likely to be attacked. Why? Kidnapping one person is hard enough, but two or three people? Forget it. This also includes parties, you need to at least have one person you know at a party. That way if you feel like you are in an unsafe situation, you can call on that friend to help you out.
  2. Learn Self Defense: Much of that information is provided in the e-mail with the subject Timely Warning, which has been sent to all mason emails. But, there are many ways to learn how to defend yourself without being a black belt. On campus Mason Police offer a self defense program called the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program. This program is for teaching “teaching women defensive concepts and techniques against various types of assaults by utilizing easy, effective and proven self-defense tactics.” (More information here. There is also a class you can take here at mason for credit for self defense called PHED-134: Self-Defense for Men and Women more information can be found here.
  3. Get off your freaking phone: Seriously, who do you need to text while walking in a dark alley, dark sidewalk, or parking lot? If you need to talk to them that bad, call them. It’s safer that way, because if you get in a pinch, you can tell your correspondent your location, and if something happens to you, they can call the police and give them that location.
  4. If something does happen, or if you feel unsafe, TELL SOMEONE (particularly the police): No one, and I mean no one is going to judge you. If you said no, you said no, if someone stole your homework you have a right to get it back. If you are walking back to Presidents Park when your class was across campus, you can call campus police and they can safely escort you/ be your buddy on the way back to your dorm.

These are just a few ways to stay safe on campus.

What are your strategies?

Leave your thoughts on the sidebar!


Featured Image: WCN 24/7 CC BY-NC 2.0