Students determine their own safety

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In light of recent arrests in on-campus housing, Dixie State University personnel share insight on how students can stay safe. 

A recent assault arrest occurred April 5 when a verbal altercation allegedly turned physical at Nisson Towers. The student suspect had a record prior to the incident and was still permitted to live in on-campus housing.

Seth Gubler, director of housing and residential life, said students who have been convicted of a felony or who are sex offenders do not get their on-campus housing applications processed. When an assault happens in on-campus housing, Gubler said it’s not uncommon for a student to be evicted.

“With an assault situation, chances are good they will be evicted on a first-time physical assault,” he said.

However, Gubler said each situation is different, and his office recognizes varying degrees of severity. He said oftentimes the assault is a simple misunderstanding, and eviction is not necessary. 

Don Reid, director of campus security and police, said he was out of town when the incident occurred, but because the student who called him had his cell phone number, he was able to make sure she was safe and instructed her to stay inside until the police arrived.

“I knew she was safe and felt better knowing she has someone she could actually call even though it wasn’t happening to her in her room,” he said. “That was a situation where people had been partying, and it was group of people who knew each other, and things went bad.” 

The key for students to stay safe is for them to remove themselves from potentially unsafe environments, he said.  Reid said at the majority of parties campus security responds to, most of the people who aren’t drinking said they don’t drink because they’re trying to stay safe. 

“The truth is, if you enter a room where a majority of the people are drinking, and if any of them have gotten anywhere close to .08 blood alcohol, that means their judgment has been impaired, their inhibitions have been released, and you just inserted yourself into an unsafe environment,” Reid said.

In a similar situation, a student was arrested for allegedly possessing and smoking spice in his dorm room. The student claimed he was wrongfully arrested, and the charges have since been dismissed. 

Gubler said typically when a student in on-campus housing violates his or her contract by using alcohol or marijuana in the dorms, the first offense yields a three-month probation. In addition, the student must take a drug and alcohol education course from the Heath and Wellness Center and perform community service.

Dean of Students Del Beatty said he rarely gets involved because most incidents are sorted out through the housing office. However, he said the Crisis Assessment and Risk Evaluation team is notified when an incident occurs in on-campus housing, and the CARE team determines whether or not additional action needs to be taken to further protect the students.

“The students have a lot of protection,” Beatty said. “There is a lot of due process and a lot of rights in our student code.” 

Beatty said the students have the right to appeal decisions made by him, the housing office and the student conduct committee. 

Although police can arrive at the scene quickly, the first people there will always be the victim and the perpetrator, Reid said. The most important thing you can do to stay safe is to always be aware of your surroundings, who you’re with and your circumstances.

“There’s no such thing as 100 percent prevention,” Reid said.