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The Columbia Chronicle

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The Columbia Chronicle

Campus Safety and Security to hold street safety training sessions

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Campus Safety and Security will hold two training sessions this month, including one on Wednesday night, Oct. 11, for members of the Columbia community to learn more about street safety.

The sessions, “KickA$$ Navigating the City with Confidence,” will be held at the Dwight Lofts at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 and at 3 p.m. on Oct. 25 in Room 329 at the Student Center, said Ronald Sodini, associate vice president of Campus Safety and Security.

Some students have expressed concerns about campus safety in the wake of a fatal stabbing on Oct. 6 near the Arc student housing complex at 37 W. Van Buren Street. Campus officials said they are looking into specific security improvements near that building.

Faculty and staff have shown up for “KickA$$” trainings in the past but not as many students have attended, said Mark Brticevich, coordinator of wellness, athletics and recreation in the office of Student Organizations and Leadership.

Additional training sessions will be announced on the Engage app and on the crime advisories that the college sends through email, Brticevich said.

First-year student Teddi Karnes said they feel safe on campus during the day when but only feel safe at night when they see campus security.

“There’s those little security boxes around, and I actually see the cars with the campus security people in them all the time,” said the film and television major. Karnes also has Campus Security’s phone number saved to their phone. “They told us to do that the first day we got here,” they said.

Destiny Young, a sophomore arts administration major, said she sees campus security vehicles a lot around campus, particularly along Michigan Avenue. She would call campus security if needed, she added.

But she also wishes she’d see security officers walking around more.

“I do think they could be a little more alert,” she said. “It can get a little sketchy when there are a lot of bodies going back and forth, but I do know where to find them.”

Another resource, also known as the Safe Escort program, Columbia’s Safe Ride Program increases safety and security for students while traveling the campus at night.

The Safe Ride program is active during the Fall, Spring and J-term semesters and begins picking up students at 6 p.m. and continues until 1 a.m., Sodini said. To call for a pickup, dial 1-312-369-SAFE.

The Safe Ride van is sent to the requester’s location. After presenting a student I.D., the rider is taken from one campus location to another including CTA and Metra commuter train stations, he added.

New Campus Safety and Security resources include Alertus, an emergency alert system which was initiated over the summer and was tested in the fall.

Alertus extends the ability to send mass notifications to students and Columbia’s community via downloaded software that displays emergency information, including weather alerts, on laptops and classroom screens. Having access to Columbia’s internet is necessary to download the software, he said.

Campus security is an effort that includes everyone, Sodini said.

Students can assist by sharing any information by contacting the Safety and Security department directly, he said.

Sodini recommends that when deciding whether to call Campus Safety and Security or not, callers should consider whether to use the department’s emergency phone number, 312-369-1111 or the non-emergency number, 312-369-3220, he added.

“In an emergency, callers should tell the person who answers that their call needs to be taken immediately. The emergency line gets the priority,” Sodini said.

A full listing of all Columbia’s Campus Safety and Security resources are available on its website.

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About the Contributors
Robin Sluzas, Former Senior Reporter
rsluzas@columbiachronicle.com   Robin Sluzas is a senior journalism major, primarily covering the School of Media Arts. She has also covered politics, and arts and culture stories. She worked for the Chronicle from August 2021 through December 2023.   Hometown: Chicago, Ill.