Public Safety responds to increase in harassment, threats

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In the month of November, there were four threats—one of them terroristic—13 cases of harassment and nine cases of assault on or near campus, according to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Crime Log.

Collaborative efforts between the Office of Student Affairs and DPS are being implemented to educate the student population on awareness of harassment and assault, and what needs to be done if a student is in an uncomfortable situation.

“No form of harassment should be tolerated, and we encourage people to report it,” said Michael Kantner, Assistant Vice President of Public Safety and Emergency Management. “Sometimes that’s when you see a little bit of a spike.

When we educate people and they’re more comfortable with reporting things, normally they sometimes feel like they don’t want to bother with that, and I say no one ever bothers us. The DPS is here to provide a service to the campus community.”

Kantner said that no matter what happens, an issue of harassment or assault should always be reported. But even with an increase in education, there’s still the factor of increased enrollment.

“If there is a spike or a small increase, that can be contributed to the number of enrollment,” he said.  “As our enrollments have gone up, there are more people reporting incidents.”

Majority of the cases happen during evening hours and usually during or after social gatherings, like parties. If an incident happens, Kantner said it usually happens back at a student’s dorm or on the walk back to campus housing.

Additionally, most students know their assailant, whether it is a roommate or a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Alcohol plays a factor as well. There have been cases reported where the assailant has been under the influence of alcohol, but Kantner said that it’s not the overwhelming factor. Students should ultimately be aware of their surroundings to avoid being put in a bad situation.

“If they are in a situation where it’s uncomfortable for them, or potentially dangerous for them, they need to leave that situation immediately and call public safety,” he said. “If they are in a situation where they can’t leave, they should leave as soon as possible and get assistance from whoever is around them and make it well known that they need help.”

DPS and Student Affairs believe that a student should never tolerate an uncomfortable situation, so they have brought thorough education and awareness about dangerous situations to the campus community for years, including programs that teach how to react in various situations. They believe when you educate the population, you educate the student body as well.

“Anything can happen any where, any time, any place, and we see that everywhere in the country today, but at Rowan’s Glassboro campus in the last few years, I think we’ve done a great job,” Kantner said.

With their collaborative efforts, both departments recently received a Safe Campus Award for their achievements in working together with the campus community.

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