UPD holds forum for safety conversation

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UPD holds forum for safety conversation

Photo Courtesy of NCAT UPD Twitter

Photo Courtesy of NCAT UPD Twitter

Photo Courtesy of NCAT UPD Twitter

Ashley Hatcher and Elaijah Gibbs-Jones, Managing Editor

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In hopes of relieving panic caused by suspicious events near campus, the University Police Department (UPD) hosted an informational session last week to give students the opportunity to ask safety-related questions.  

 

Recently, several  N.C. A&T students took to Twitter to express their experiences of having their safety threatened. One student tweeted she was nearly abducted in the afternoon walking to Sebastian Village, a nearby campus apartment.

 

 

Other students shared their sightings of a suspicious white vehicle patrolling near Sebastian Village and Collegiate commons, another nearby apartment complex. UPD and Sebastian Villages Management later confirmed the white van in the Sebastian area was an NSA security guard patrolling the area in their own personal vehicle. A letter from Sebastian Villages Management was also released to residents regarding the matter.
“As a result of hearing our residents concerns, we have been assured that the officer will not be bringing that vehicle back on site,” the letter included. “Going forward, NSA will only patrol in their marked vehicles. They apologize for any confusion this caused.”

 

UPD is working to ensure the safety of its students by many methods of coverage. First, through the use of 24/7 security coverage, whether by foot, bike or cars. 

UPD is responsible for patrolling the campus and checking the buildings. UPD also uses campus surveillance to deter criminal activity and aid in any investigative processes. There are emergency phones situated throughout campus and safety programming known as Rape Aggression Defense System (RAD). 

 

The importance of the LiveSafe app has been continuously reiterated by UPD to ensure student’s safety.  The LiveSafe app is a free safety application created by a survivor of the Virginia Tech Massacre. It includes the direct lines to local police stations, the ability to send videos and pictures anonymously and a go-safe walk, which permits the option to choose a contact person to watch a person walk to their destination. 

 

With social media commotion on the rise regarding many abductions of young black women, N.C. A&T students have expressed their caution and fear of safety threats.

 

Forum attendees posed the question of whether white campus facilities vans could change the appearance or enlarge the N.C. A&T logo in order for students to quickly identify facility vans. In return, UPD agreed.

 

UPD believes it is not only up to UPD to ensure the safety of students. Students must do their part as well by reporting any suspicious or criminal activity, according to Lieutenant Bobby Cuthbertson and UPD Chief  Charles Wilson.

 

“It costs you no money to call us and tell us to check on something. We [aren’t] going to say no.” Cuthbertson said. 

Although social media is a method used to increase awareness of criminal activity, such as recent abductions, it can not alert police as fast as a report can. 

 

“It’s one thing to report things on social media, it’s another thing to call the police,” Wilson added.

 

Student leaders of SGA have also encouraged students to not just report, but to demand changes and conversations of campus safety. There was a low turn out rate of students who attended the campus, according to Armani May, Mister N.C. A&T. 

 

After the forum, May tweeted a percentage to allow students to visualize how lack of attendance is a part of the issue.