Parents’ primary concern is the safety of their students. Iowa has a reputation as a safe place. Ironically, that may be why students and their belongings sometimes are not as safe as one might think. Students are partners with the University in protecting their own safety, and help is available:
The Black & Gold Handbook for New Students, distributed at Orientation, lists offices or areas of the University dedicated to safety. There also is information on University web sites, including a crime prevention newsletter at www.uiowa.edu/~pubsfty.
The Department of Public Safety’s police division, with headquarters in the University Capitol Centre in downtown Iowa City, sends sworn, certified police officers—including a police dog—to patrol the campus. They are graduates of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, with the same powers as police departments in the community. The department’s investigations division has specialized training in helping victims of sexual assault.
The Hawk Alert System notifies the campus community of threats to physical safety, such as tornadoes or hazardous material incidents, via telephone, text, and e-mail messages; see http://hawkalert.uiowa.edu for details. The University also has an outdoor warning system that broadcasts voice messages and sirens during severe weather or other campus emergencies.
Theft—especially of books, backpacks, bicycles, sound systems, and laptop computers—is the No. 1 reported crime on campus. Registering important belongings on the University’s Project ID web site can help public safety officials trace serial numbers and ownership.
Nite Ride, a van service operated by Department of Public Safety guards, provides women a safe means of transportation between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Routes and contact information are available at www.uiowa.edu/~pubsfty/nite.htm. Also, Cambus runs frequently, for both convenience and safety.
Code Blue telephones—22 in all—are strategically placed around campus to give students immediate access to UI police officers in emergencies. Students also should program into their cell phones the numbers of area police departments (UI, 319-335-5022: Iowa City, 319-356-5275).
Rape Aggression Defense Training is a free, 12-hour course offered through the Department of Public Safety. Information is available at www.uiowa.edu/~pubsfty/rad.htm.
Parents can help students be proactive before moving to campus by encouraging them not to pack unnecessary items. Also, parents should stay in touch and continue to remind their students about safety.
Lastly, residence hall officials offer students one simple bit of advice: be smart, lock your student room door, and be aware of what’s going on around you.