By Maggie Dunning
Staff reporter

Lighting is a key factor in the dangers during nighttime. (Jonathan Woon/Collegian photographer)

Crimes often happen at night, when people are unable to see well and consequently unable to protect themselves from the dangers that lurk in the dark.

Lighting is a key factor in the dangers during nighttime. When campuses have adequate lighting, students, faculty, staff and administration feel safer.

Sara Weinert, vice-president of communications, said, “Each light on campus does have a number labeling it.” This makes it easy for students to call maintenance or to e-mail maintenance at jeff.gile@sckans.edu to inform them of the broken light, helping to keep the campus safer.

The sidewalk and stairs between Wallingford and the cafeteria, the sidewalk between Darbeth and the 77 steps, the sidewalk between Wroten Hall and Darbeth, Wallingford’s parking lot, and King drive are a few places on campus that have inadequate lighting. Calling security for an escort is always an option for students who need to travel around campus at night.

“Lighting has really improved on campus. It really is a safe campus, but in the dark it doesn’t feel like it,” said Weinert.

Combining safety tips with understanding who to call when a crime happens are what help keep college campuses safe.

Every Southwestern College student should know these numbers and have them programmed into their cell phones. These numbers are:

  • Campus security: (620) 229-0012
  • Winfield Police: (620) 221-5555 or 911
  • Maintenance: (620) 229-6321

Students should also keep these safety tips in mind.

“Students should always, always trust their instinct,” said Dan Falk, dean of students.

  • Look like you have a purpose.
  • Carry your keys in hand.
  • Constantly be aware of the area around you.
  • Always lock your car door and dorm room door.

Carrie Lane, associate professor of psychology has a PhD in experimental psychology with an emphasis on social psychology. She taught through graduate school at the University of Texas at Arlington and for the past six years at Florida State University as an assistant professor.

Lane said, “Never be on your cell phone. A lot of people think that this makes them appear busy and that will deter any perpetrator from targeting them. That is not the case. It makes them appear more susceptible because they seem distracted.”

“Don’t wear hair in a ponytail. If you do it makes it easier for people to grab and use against you,” said Lane.

“Only 20 percent of rapes are stranger rapes,” said Lane. The other 80 percent of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

Falk said, “A good friend doesn’t let a friend go home with the creepy guy or up the stairs with the creepy guy. Your friend may be mad at you for it, but in the end, as a friend you are doing the right thing.”

Safety procedures are only the first step students need to take to keep themselves safe on campus. The next step is to report crimes or safety hazards to the appropriate officials.

“Always call 911 if it is a life threatening emergency,” said Weinert.

For any type of dangerous situation it is recommended that students call the police or 911 first and take the necessary steps for reporting the crime from there.

Falk said, “It is always encouraged for student to fill out a police report.”

If the crime involves another student’s conduct, Southwestern College investigates the crime differently than the police do. “If student conduct is an issue, there is an investigative process done by Student Life. The student may not go to jail, but they may get kicked out of college,” said Falk.

The college will keep students informed about the progress of any criminal investigation taking place by Student Life in one of two ways.

“If it is not a sexual assault, we keep students updated. If it is, we constantly keep them informed. If a student is raped by another student, on or off campus, we keep them informed to give back a sense of power to the victim. It becomes school versus the perpetrator not victim versus the perpetrator,” said Falk.

Every person has the right to empower themselves through accurate information. This information is freely given if people know what it is and where to look for it.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal law requiring all college and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.

This act is in place to protect students by giving them easy access to crime reports that have been filed so that students can better prepare themselves for living on their own during college.

Southwestern College has a link on their website to review the crime reports that were filed in 2011. These reports are updated Oct. 1 of every year. The link to view this information is http://www.sckans.edu/file/513.

To view the entire Jeanne Clery Act people may visit the website http://www.securityoncampus.org/summary-jeanne-clery-act.

Maggie Dunning is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at margaret.dunning@sckans.edu.