Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Campus expresses concerns over safety

pcostorySince Jan. 15, three iPhones and a Surface 3 Tablet have been reported as stolen from the PepsiCo Recreation Center. Because of this larceny, the perception of safety on Augustana’s campus has been called into question. There are many resources on campus that can increase safety for students, but how safe do students actually feel?

Annie Mitchell, a junior music education major, says that there are instances on campus where safety is more of a concern for her. However, her worries lie mostly with the fear of theft. “I’m scared of my belongings being stolen so I always keep my phone with me,” said Mitchell.

Ethan Conley-Keck, a first-year student, says his main concern is also with personal belongings.

“I’ve always been a bit paranoid when it comes to my stuff,” says Conley-Keck. “I lock the door to my room when I go down the hallway to the water fountain. Now, I never let my wallet or my phone out of my sight.”

Mitchell says that the more comfortable she becomes in a building, the safer it feels. “In Bergendoff, I usually leave my things lying around because (as a music education major) that is my home.”

Jessica Lechtenberg, a first-year student, says that there have been plenty of times where she has felt less than safe on campus.

‘There have been a few instances where groups of guys have made sexual comments or whistle when walking in groups or driving,” says Lechtenberg. “It typically happens after dark when I am walking on campus by myself or with other girls.” Lechtenberg thinks that having the administration require males on campus to attend an informational session about sexual harassment would help address this issue.

There have also been issues with ACES having to close early on nights where there is heavy snow, such as what happened on Jan. 19. Many students wish there was an alternative available in cases like this or the ones that Mitchell describes.

Conley-Keck says that his safety concerns also lie with other people. He recalls an incident he encountered on the slough. “One time there was a guy and a girl coming back from a party, and the girl was far too drunk to be with him,” says Conley-Keck. “I stepped in and took the girl back to her dorm, but I’m afraid that events like that happen far too often, especially when alcohol is involved.”

“I feel if the security was increased at night or blue boxes were put on the slough, I would feel safer,” added Conley-Keck.

Mitchell also says she has concerns when it comes to walking late at night, even with the ACES cars available. “As a female, I am often scared to walk alone at night,” said Mitchell. “I usually call ACES, but sometimes it’s dark and ACES isn’t open yet because it gets dark earlier in the winter, and I have to walk alone.”

These are sentiments shared by Lechtenberg.

“Overall, I feel fairly safe on Augustana’s campus. I feel less safe at night and prefer not to walk alone,” Lechtenberg said.

There are plenty of students who also feel safe on campus. Junior Camilo Duarte is one of these students. “I’ve never felt worried about my safety while on campus,” said Duarte.

First-year Maddie Witt says the same. “I feel extremely safe on campus,” said Witt. “In my time here, I have never felt uncomfortable or scared to be on campus.”

Don Umland, director ofcampus recreation, said that many new precautions have been put in place with the increased amount of thefts. These include lock boxes in PepsiCo where students can now store their valuable belongings. Umland said that there were also additional measures put in place that Public Safety wanted to keep confidential.

Umland also says that incidents like his have happened before and the perpetrator has almost always been caught.

“About three years ago, there was a case of a student stealing money from a Trinity patient (who undertook physical therapy in PepsiCo),” said Umland. “We were able to catch the perpetrator within a few weeks.”

Public Safety wants students to know that the situation is under control. They request that people read the safety tips they email out on a regular basis and, above all, remind students to not leave their valuables in an unsafe, unmonitored space.

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Campus expresses concerns over safety