The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Police Department emailed students alerting them to multiple safety resources for students and community members.
These resources include RAVE Guardian, uSafeUS and Walking Escorts.
These new resources come as the annual Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) was released by the UNH Police Department on Sept. 29.
The UNH Police Department began to publicize these resources after a reported sexual assault in Stoke Hall and two indecent exposures in September.
For context, the UNH Police Department reported 53 rapes and 22 fondling-related instances on and off-campus between last year’s report and this year’s.
uSafeUS is a safety app created by the UNH Police Department to assist students in uncomfortable or traumatic situations, to get help from bartenders and wait for staff, and to provide a wide variety of resources and survivor services through the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) and Psychology and Counseling Services (PACS).
Given that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, SHARPP is hosting numerous events virtually, such as letter writing on Monday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. and Action-Centered Book Club on Oct. 1 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Ally Poulin, SHARPP’s Outreach Assistant, considers uSafeUS an effective extra layer of security for students.
“uSafeUS is great because it has the phone numbers for all of the resources available for SHARPP,” Poulin said.
Though uSafeUS provides this extra layer of security, Poulin believes SHARPP’s educational programs are more effective in keeping students safe. Poulin said, “A big thing for me, and is probably the biggest thing that helps the most people on campus, is our prevention education.”
SHARPP has a significant presence on campus, working with Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL), positing flyers in dorms, and working with Residential Life (ResLife) for their outreach.
Amy Culp, the director of SHARPP, outlined SHARPP’s changing scope due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
SHARPP integrated a live chat software which can be used for students who may not be comfortable attending a session remotely.
“When someone is remotely working, they are monitoring the chat line on Resource Connect,” said Culp.
This resource is offered through the Violence Against Women Act and is HIPPA-compliant.
“A lot of our community is not located on campus with COVID-19, or they may not feel comfortable coming in. It is available through the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and we still have our line available 24/7/365,” said Culp.
RAVE Gurdian is another app offered by the UNH Police Department which allows students to report crime, suspicious activity and safety concerns directly to UNH Police Dispatchers.
According to the UNH Police Department, the app can be used anonymously or with pre-loaded information.
Mikayla Jerominek, a junior at UNH, has used RAVE Guardian in the past. She said, “I didn’t find it as effective as hearing about it on social media.”
Jerominek believes RAVE Guardian is a useful resource, but she would like to see more prevention. She said, “I feel like there are resources [like uSafeUS and RAVE Guardian] to fall back on, but there is not as much prevention.”
Even with these resources, she said that she believes UNH could do more to ensure the safety of their students. Jerominek said, “If they ran the busses later and more often, or a way to get home safe later, that would be helpful. I would love to see them [the police department] do more harm reduction rather than criminalizing things.”
Despite its flaws, Jerominek feels secure on the UNH campus with everything available to her. “Especially being a transfer student from Providence, it did not feel as safe as it did here,” she said. “I feel very safe on campus. I feel if something like that happened again I’d have somewhere to go and people that will listen and people who are educated.”
Students can utilize these two new resources anonymously. Students are encouraged to communicate any concerns on campus with the police department through RAVE Guardian.
The UNH Police Department also offers walking escorts to and from on-campus locations for anyone. However, students are encouraged to contact UNH Transportation services first.
Students are also encouraged to use the Blue Light Emergency Telephones should students find themselves in an emergency. International students can also obtain their driver license with assistance from UNH as well.
Though the UNH Police Department continues to offer resources, students like Jerominek would like to see more restorative action within the UNH community.
“The biggest and best way of preventing assault is having prevention education,” said Culp.