Safety comes first, but we’re second
University Primetime (UP) has recently named Florida Gulf Coast University the second safest university in America — only behind Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. UP used several criteria including how many arrests have been made on and off campus in recent years and number of student deaths.
“The statistics account for nine types of criminal incidents, which we weighted based on a subjective judgment of violence,” said Chris Weigen, author of the article.
University Chief of Police Steven Moore explained that the campus is safe due to a conjunctive effort made by the FGCU community, university police department, student affairs, and the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
“A vast majority of the credit for having a safe campus goes to the students because they just behave and we have a great student body,” Moore said.
The police department also partners with the Behavioral Consultation and Assessment Team, Counseling and Psychological Services and a few other internal partners. Externally, University police works closely with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to ensure a safe campus.
“We have a very nice campus and a very nice location. We aren’t in the middle of a city, and that helps us,” Moore said.
The campus has seen a minimal amount of robberies and assault cases, which definitely aids in the safety of the university. Within the past 36 months, there haven’t been any student deaths on or off campus, which
on campus, which is rare for a university.
“We believe that it is not only important for students to be safe on campus, but also to feel safe,” Moore explained.
FGCU has implemented many safety procedures to allow the University’s students to feel safe on campus. Every bedroom in North Lake Village is outfitted with emergency pull cords, West Lake has a front gate that is closed at night and all of the main doors in South Village are locked at night. The entire university is equipped with “Code Blue” emergency poles, which are checked multiple times a year to ensure that they work.
A majority of students do feel that UPD does a great job with ensuring safety on campus.
Senior communication major Ricardo Nugent said that he feels very safe at FGCU.
“I feel safe on this because there are a lot of safe areas throughout the university. I always see police officers on campus. I don’t see much that can harm me at this school,” Nugent said.
Senior music education major Megan McDevitt feels safe on campus.
“I’ve never felt unsafe on this campus. I go running at night and I’ve never been afraid of my surroundings,” McDevitt said.
Many other women on campus do not agree with McDevitt’s opinion of safety on campus.
“I think that FGCU needs to put more lights between the library and the parking garage because I feel very unsafe walking back to my car alone at night,” Junior nursing major Janelli Perez said.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, as of May 2014, 55 colleges are currently under investigation for mishandling sexual assault cases.
Last year, James Madison University had a video taped sexual assault case, which was resolved by the involved students being suspended from the university — upon graduation. No other disciplinary action was taken.
Currently, FGCU has a system in place for students that feel unsafe: to call UPD and have an officer walk the student to his or her car.
“In almost all of the personal crimes on this campus, the victim knows the suspect. Because of our location and because we do not have a lot of bars across the street from campus, we do not have many victims with unknown perpetrators,” Moore said.
Although the university does have some assault issues on campus, most of the issues are isolated, and even those are rare. In the past ten years, 17 forcible sex offenses have been reported at FGCU.
“Last year we did have a couple sexual assault cases at the end of October, but we arrested the guy. Within a matter of two days he was in jail.”