This article, 10 Questions Every Parent, Student Should Ask About Campus Safety, http://bit.ly/1wFS7ib, was recently posted online and it’s a good article for you to read and find that Missouri State has plans/procedures in place for the questions asked. If you attended SOAR 2016, you learned about our Safety & Transportation department, the Springfield Police Substation and the Office of Student Conduct. If you are the family member of an upperclassman, it’s a good idea to review all our procedures.
Our students very quickly settle in to campus life and feel very comfortable at Missouri State. Often times, when our students get comfortable, they let their guard down, and don’t pay as much attention as they should to their surroundings. This is true for first-year students as well as seniors. Safety is an area where this becomes obvious. Our students know other students, they feel safe on the campus, and of course, nothing is going to happen to them, at least in their minds. They may not be aware that 90% of the time the sexual assault attacker is a dating partner, friend or acquaintance. This is the time to remind your student to be aware of the world around them, to remember safety procedures they have learned and familiarize themselves with the processes that Missouri State has in place to keep them safe.
Here are some tips to share with your student:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid dark and unpopulated areas.
- There is power in numbers. Go out with a group and come home with a group.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended.
- Lock your door in your residence hall.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car.
- Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust.
- Trust your instincts — e.g., if you feel uncomfortable.
- Keep your cell phone with you and charged.
- Don’t leave with someone you don’t trust and know.
- Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do.
- If a friend appears intoxicated and “out of it,” get her or him to a safe place immediately.
- Don’t leave your valuables alone while you run to talk to a friend or go to the restroom.
There are ways that you, the family member can help your student stay safe. These include:
Staying in touch
Set up some regular times for communication such as a phone call on a Sunday afternoon. This gives your student the opportunity to update you on his life at college. It also offers you the opportunity to pick-up on any behavioral changes.
Family members should watch for sudden behavioral changes in their kids at college like irritability and sadness, since those could indicate a sexual assault, relationship problem or another significant issue. Your student can find out more about Sexual Assault: Prevention, Education & Resources here. Make sure your student knows you are in their corner and happy to always listen when they need to talk and to help as needed.
Familiarize yourself with Missouri State polices so you can act as a resource for your student.
Having a plan
Students and family members should have a safety plan that includes contact information in case of an emergency, including campus safety officials. Students should also know what resources are available on their campuses.
The safety of our students is paramount at Missouri State. The university has many procedures in place to reduce the risk of harm to our students. Students must also take personal responsibility for themselves and their friends. Everyone needs to keep a watchful eye on our campus and if something doesn’t feel right, report it to campus security, the Springfield Police, an RA, professor or a friend. On campus we have:
- Safe Walk – Safe Walk is an on-campus walking service seven days a week during the hours of darkness. Your student can contact the Safety & Transportation Department at 836-5509 to request an escort. Encourage your student to add the number for Safety & Transportation to their phone. To find out more visit the Safety and Transportation website.
- Bear Line Shuttle – Bear Line offers a convenient and safe way to travel — no matter where your destination on campus. Just JUMP ON from any of the well-lit, covered shuttle stops conveniently located across campus.
- Missouri State Alert System – Missouri State Alert is the University’s mass notification system, which uses a variety of methods to contact students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency or school closing. Learn more about the Missouri State Alert System here.
- Blue Light Safety Phone – Blue Light Safety Phones are located across the campus. If students feel uncomfortable about a situation, they hit the button on the phone and the blue lights flash and the student is connected to the Public Safety office and an officer will be dispatched to the student’s location.
- Springfield Police Department (SPD) Substation – Commissioned law enforcement at Missouri State University is provided by the SPD. These officers work out of the Missouri State University/SPD Substation located at 636 E. Elm. Visit the Safety website to learn more.
- Residence Hall Safety – All residence halls have open-entry access between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. After 7:00 p.m. all doors to the residence halls are locked and only students who live in a particular residence hall can enter by using their electronic access card. The front desk of each residence hall is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Title IX resources – Missouri State University is committed to creating an academic and work environment free of sexual discrimination and harassment while valuing the dignity of all students, faculty and staff.
- Emergency Response Plan – The Campus Crisis Management and Emergency Operations Plan is put into effect whenever a crisis, man-made or natural, disrupts operations, threatens life, creates major damage, or occurs within the University community and its surroundings.
If you have any questions about safety at Missouri State, visit the Safety & Transportation website for more information. You can contact the Parent & Family Program office at (417) 836-3060 or email@example.com anytime. We are here to help you and your student.