Taking extra steps for protection

Recent attacks on campus have influenced some students to change the way they travel.

Walking with a group is one way students can insure safety but sometimes friends can’t be found.

For Elysia Sposato, a junior majoring in integrated language arts, walking in well lit areas at night helps her feel safe. Sposato, who is trained in the martial art of jujitsu, shared a tactic she uses in case she would be attacked.

“I hold a key in between my fingers,” Sposato said.

While Sposato has professional training, Ericka Henderson, a senior majoring in psychology, goes with a slightly more technological approach in defending herself.

“I carry a knife,” Henderson said.

Henderson may feel carrying a blade is necessary, while other students believe carrying a razor cellular phone is sufficient.

A cell phone is the defense of choice for Stacey Minix, a freshman majoring in liberal studies, who uses both cellular technology and the buddy system to prevent any possible attackers.

“I walk at night but I call one of my friends to walk home with me so I don’t have to go home by myself,” Minix said.

The University also offers an escort service for students who would prefer not to walk alone on campus.

From the beginning of October, when the first attack was reported, the Campus Escort Service has seen an increase in users.

According to Brandon Scribner, a supervisor of Student Safety Services, there has been an increased use in the service including standing walks since the reported attacks. Standing walks are regularly scheduled walks where an escort will take a person from one place to another.

The workers at Student Safety Services carry hand radios with them which are directly linked to the base so there is constant contact between the station and the escorts.

While the escort service has helped students get from one place to another, the campus police have tried different tactics to catch assailants in the act.

Campus police Sgt. John Shumaker, who oversees the escort services, said the campus police have tried different tactics, including sitting in unmarked cars in the University parking lots.

“If we are trying to catch someone we will be as discrete as we can,” Shumaker said.

Shumaker also credited the escort service for the help they provide to the campus police.

“I see extremely positive things that my police officers don’t have time to do, [Campus Escort Service] provides a vital service to our department,” Shumaker said.