By Alexandra Gordon
According to a National Council for Home and Safety report, Florida Gulf Coast University is listed as the 7th safest school in the United States, but do students and staff agree?
“Crime is at an all-time low on campus this semester,” said Chief-of-Police Stephen Moore. “But this is because we haven’t had many students on campus.”
According to Moore, there have been less than 10 calls to the department this semester which he concluded would be around a 70% decrease.
“Although we keep an eye on the statistics of campus safety, we do not put much stock into their numbers,” said Moore. “This is because many of these companies are home alarm companies who put out a regular magazine and include the area around the campus as a part of the campus during their data gathering.”
90% if not all of the calls to UPD come from student housing, stated Moore, but protecting students is so much more than just crime now.
“I don’t go on campus anymore really since fall semester began because I signed up for all online classes, so I didn’t have to put myself or others at risk and to combat the spread,” said FGCU senior, Massey Puttman. “When I do go on campus, I feel like the necessary precautions are being executed and overall there aren’t many people staying on campus and hanging out.”
In terms of both pandemic safety and the usual day-to-night precautions being taken at FGCU, both students and staff seem to find the safety precautions taken to be adequate.
A year ago, prospective students and their parents may have researched campus safety statistics now they have to consider pandemic safety concerns as well.
In our current climate, safety is not something easy to describe.
“In my time at FGCU, I’ve always felt fairly safe on campus, morning or night,” said FGCU junior, Skylar Ramirez. “This includes the many evenings I spent each semester walking from the parking garage to the library on the wee hours of the night during exam week. When I compare our parking garages to a different university I attended before transferring, our parking garages provide much light even in the stairwells.”
Some other FGCU safety measures include a 24-hour Dispatch Center, Bike Unit, Detective and Crime Prevention, and a community outreach officer.
Additionally, FGCU has safety protocols and agencies like Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, Prevent and Wellness, and Protect the Nest which is a newer initiative created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that helps to track symptoms and spread among students.
“We need more students to complete the daily screening app as our COVID19 case management system is built around the information we receive from the app,” said Vice President of Staffing, Susan Evans. “It’s really quite simple and convenient to use- it takes me less than one minute each morning to complete the questions on my phone through the app.”
According to Susan Evans, FGCU’s Vice President and Chief of Staff, we currently have 1,470 total employees (faculty and staff), and 15,300 enrolled students this semester.
Of the 15,300 students, 71% of them are taking one or more courses on campus this semester, and thus they should be completing the health screening app.
Both faculty & staff and students are required to complete the checkmark and the faculty & staff are taking this requirement seriously as should all students.
Lastly, there are Emergency Management Department monitors in place forecasts and provides plans on how to proceed in case of a natural disaster.
While neither Susan Evans nor Police Chief Stephen Moore take much stock in the National Council for Home and Safety report, despite its positive rating of FGCU, the university consensus among students and staff seems to be that Florida Gulf Coast University is on the right track in regards to safety.