Minnesota State University, Mankato is a relatively safe campus. With emergency phones around campus to access if you feel unsafe, a communicative campus security team and well-lit paths throughout campus, it’s easy to feel comfortable when walking around.
Yet, our campus seems to have a relatively high number of reported stalking incidents, making people uncomfortable walking around campus.
Anyone can look up the security reports through the MNSU website, and while some of them are as ridiculous as public urination, the number of stalking reports in the past month have been too high for students’ comfort levels.
There are some programs implemented through the University to help students and staff feel secure. Along with the emergency phones stationed along campus, there is a safe walk service, where a security officer will walk with you to any destination on campus.
Other services security offers include vehicle jump-starts and unlocks, silent witness reports, star alert, personal safety alerts and daily updates of all incident reports. If you have any questions or need help for anything security related, don’t hesitate to reach out to campus security at 507-389-2111.
Even with these programs in place, one question still remains; how can we create a safer campus environment?
There are a number of ways MNSU can take the necessary steps to ensure a protected environment for everyone. Some are already in effect.
One of the first things we can do is educate everyone on safety. You need to first protect yourself. But it’s also important to inform students how to help others feel safe. Instead of pushing more safety information onto the victim we need to teach people how to stop making others feel uncomfortable.
What would this look like?
Hanging up informative posters may seem like a simple and effective idea, but you also need to consider how many people are going to stop and read these. If this option is to be used, it’s important to keep the words to a minimum and the paper bright and eye-catching so people will stop and look at it.
A more effective method may be having RA’s in dorms discuss this topic at the first floor meeting and continuously throughout the year to keep it fresh in the residents’ minds. Having the conversation right away will inform freshmen of the realities of college and allow them to learn how to become a better person to be around.
Keeping the discussion away from victim blaming and instead focusing on how to create safe spaces will allow for a trustworthy campus.