UB Safe Day offers precautionary advice for students on and off campus
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 20:10
Hongzheng Han was walking back to his Goodyear dorm from the Health Sciences Library on South Campus when he felt a gun pointed at his head.
In shock and fear, Han looked around to see if there was help nearby.
A car noticed Han and his attacker and pulled over to help. The suspect fled the scene and Han was safe. Unfortunately, though, he has never felt safe again, he said.
Han, a sophomore business major, returned to his home in China for the summer, shortly after the incident. Although he does know his attacker was found and arrested, he still does not know what kind of punishment he received.
To this day, Han refuses to go out alone – ever.
In light of ongoing concerns over safety at UB, both on and off campus, International Student and Scholar Services, Off-Campus Student Services, Campus Living, the Erie Department of Health, University Police (UPD), Student Health Services and SBI Legal Assistance held UB Safe Day on Thursday to provide students safety information.
Students walked around the safety booths set up in the Student Union, after receiving a “passport.” At each station, they had the opportunity to learn how each organization offers safety services. Students had their passports stamped at each station and were able to try out various simulations.
David Hohl, a UPD officer, said the university is always preaching safety precautions, but students don’t always listen. He said UPD takes part in events like UB Safe Day to emphasize the importance of personal safety. The campus police also offer seminars on rape and crime prevention.
Hohl said international students, like Han, are often victims of crime. Hohl said some international and domestic students don’t pay attention to or don’t understand the safety precautions UB offers at orientation. He said events like UB Safe Day help instill these precautions.
Daniel Ryan, director of Off-Campus Student Relations, said he doesn’t think international students make up the majority of crime victims, but he said they are impacted significantly.
“Language barriers, the timing of their application/acceptance may make them less likely to get housing on campus, and clearly students are safer on campus than off,” Ryan said.
Ryan said international students may feel less familiar with Buffalo, but he encourages all students – international and domestic – to visit crimereports.com to understand where crime usually occurs in particular areas.
“Ultimately, each student is responsible for their own safety, so we try to teach students to lock their doors and windows, travel in groups, inspect properties before leasing, etc.,” Ryan said.
When students are on campus, UB assumes responsibility to keep students safe, according to Ryan.
“That is why the University Police patrol regularly, why Environmental Health and Safety and Campus Living professionals inspect buildings and why Student Health Services provides vaccines, medical services, etc.,” Ryan said. “When students are off campus, they share the responsibility for their safety with the municipality they are in.”
Representatives from Health Services were also handing out information on free flu shots in October and free HIV testing in November. Another booth focused on alcohol education and encouraged students to realize that not everyone on campus drinks. A car-crash simulator was also set up outside of the Union.
“It was a really unique experience to feel what it’s like to be hit head-on in a car crash safely,” said Jamie Altneu, a junior health and human services major. “It’s a scary thought, but it’s important students realize how dangerous drinking and driving is. I think those who took part in the simulator will definitely think differently about getting behind the wheel intoxicated.”
David Wright, a Campus Living judicial coordinator, said students can take simple measures to protect their belongings in their dorms.
“The vast majority of crime and theft on UB’s campus is due to leaving doors unlocked – even when students are in their rooms,” Wright said.
He said, unfortunately, there are people who go door to door checking to see whose room is unlocked.
Wright emphasized students should be aware of the different safety services offered on campus, like campus emergency response and text messaging services and the emergency blue light phones.
Each agency brought different precautionary ideas to its booth in an effort to educate students.