Students know not to walk alone after midnight, or after a late weekend night spent off campus with friends. When two students get attacked on campus at 8pm and 10pm, however, campus safety starts to take on a new definition.
Concern among Salve students is rising after two female students were assaulted on campus this month. Both incidents occurred outside of dormitories after dark, according to an email from campus security. One girl was grabbed by the arm while trying to enter her freshmen dormitory, New Residence. The other was punched in the face outside of sophomore dormitories Wallace Hall and Founders Hall.
Sarah Varanka, a sophomore at Salve Regina, is thinking twice about walking back to her Conley dorm room alone at night after the recent crimes on campus.
“I live down Annandale and it’s a really long walk in the dark, and it’s kind of scary,” Varanka says. She heard about the crimes after her friend received an email from campus security and informed her of the situation. Varanka says that the news also traveled quickly through campus by word of mouth.
Varanka believes that the university needs to take proactive steps towards crime prevention to ensure safety among students. She says security needs to add more blue lights on campus. “I only know where one is right now. They should also get street lights to line the driveway of the dorms, especially for Conley,” states Varanka.
Tara Crimmins, a junior at Salve, believes that the attacks on campus are not going to continue, and were isolated incidents. “I was surprised to hear about the attacks because they occurred early in the night and Newport is usually a safe community, but I don’t think people should be alarmed,” states Crimmins.
Crimmins moved off campus this year, which is a common trend among upper-class students at the university. All of her neighbors are Salve students, and she feels comfortable knowing that many Salve students live in the same area of downtown.
“People definitely should not walk alone at night, especially on Thames Street,” states Crimmins. She says that she is not really worried about her safety off campus because all of the reported incidents this year have been on campus. Crimmins thinks that the university is on top of the issue by informing students immediately after the events occurred.
In response to student safety concerns, Salve Regina’s campus life hosted two safety workshops to educate students about on and off campus safety. Emily Brouillette, a freshmen at Salve, attended one of the workshops with her resident assistant and fellow suitemates.
“The workshop was definitely helpful, especially the question-and-answer part of the presentation,” Brouillette says. A police officer, two resident assistants, an area coordinator, the head of campus security and the head of multicultural affairs were all in attendance. She says they talked about security around campus, and also about safety precautions students should take in drinking situations.
Even though her RA made the workshop mandatory for his residents, Brouillette is happy that she attended. “It was nice to see the university being so concerned with students’ safety that they created a workshop,” responds Brouillette. She is now going to take advantage of the on and off campus shuttles, and start walking with a friend at night.
After the workshop, she is more confident about the safety precautions that Salve security is taking. “Knowing that there are 24/7 security officers and blue lights, I feel safe walking around campus,” says Brouillette.