Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) aren’t just institutions; they’re vibrant communities brimming with culture, traditions, and legacy. As you navigate your way through college, your safety and well-being should never be a secondary concern.
Let’s dive into how to ensure campus safety while embracing the full HBCU experience.
The Importance of Campus Safety: A Stark Reminder
Recently, a tragic incident in Jacksonville, Florida, brought to the forefront the security challenges faced by HBCUs. Edward Waters University (EWU) emerged as the initial target of a racially motivated attacker. Alert students noticed him preparing on campus, and thanks to the vigilance of Lt. Antonio Bailey, the individual was deterred and fled. Tragically, he later committed a violent act at a nearby Dollar General store. Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., EWU’s President, is of the view that the institution, a beacon of Black excellence, was chosen intentionally. This alarming event highlights the imperative for strengthened campus safety protocols at all HBCUs.
Campus Officers and Their Role
The office of campus safety is pivotal. It’s not just about having campus safety officers patrolling; it’s about the entire ecosystem they create. Post the 9/11 era, many campuses enhanced security, requiring IDs to access facilities. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Education extended over $200,000 to four Black colleges, one being Howard University, to further boost security measures.
What can we, as students, learn from this?
Navigating the HBCU Cultural Extravaganza Safely
HBCU homecomings? They’re legendary! But with great celebrations come greater responsibilities. Here are some bullet-proof tips:
- Celebrate responsibly. If you’re part of a parade or nighttime event, always stay in groups.
- The buddy system isn’t just a cliché. It’s a college safety essential.
Greek life pledges are incredible opportunities to form lifelong bonds. But it’s vital to pledge with integrity. Stay clear of any hazing red flags. Remember, genuine brotherhood or sisterhood never compromises safety.
Your Role in Ensuring Safety on and off Campus
Every student plays a role in ensuring safety, both on and off campus. A simple act, like alerting an officer when something seems out of place, can make a huge difference.
Did you know that students who are well-informed about their surroundings and who regularly communicate with the office of campus safety, often feel more secure? Be that student!
When off-campus, remember:
- Familiarize yourself with your neighborhood.
- Lock your doors and be cautious about sharing personal routines with new acquaintances.
Embracing Digital Safety
Today’s world isn’t just about physical safety. The digital realm poses its own unique threats. From cyberbullying to privacy invasions, dangers often lurk behind screens. Here’s how you can navigate the digital space safely:
- Maintain a Positive Digital Footprint:
- Regularly Google your name to monitor your online presence.
- Delete or untag unflattering or inappropriate content.
- Share achievements or positive activities to create a favorable image.
- Limit Personal Information:
- Avoid posting sensitive data like home addresses, phone numbers, and schedules.
- Use a pseudonym or a nickname on public forums.
- Use Strong Passwords:
- Combine letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Avoid easily guessed passwords like “password123” or birth dates.
- Regularly update passwords and avoid using the same one across multiple platforms.
- Enhance Privacy Settings:
- Regularly review and adjust the privacy settings on social media and other online platforms.
- Limit the audience for your posts to friends or connections.
- Be Cautious with Downloads:
- Only download apps or files from trusted sources.
- Regularly update software to benefit from the latest security patches.
- Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links:
- These might be phishing attempts or malware installers.
- If unsure about a link, verify its legitimacy by searching online or asking the sender.
- Utilize Safety Apps:
- Apps like Circle of 6 or bSafe can alert trusted contacts if you’re in a dangerous situation.
- Some apps also share your live location, acting as a safeguard when traveling alone.
Navigating the digital world safely requires both caution and awareness. By following these tips and using technology wisely, you can enhance both your digital and physical safety.
Final Thoughts on HBCU Safety
Ensuring safety in college doesn’t mean living in fear. It’s about being smart, vigilant, and proactive. So, as you forge ahead, creating memories and laying the groundwork for a bright future, remember that your safety is paramount. Embrace the rich HBCU traditions, but always with an eye on safety. Together, let’s make our campuses safer and our experiences unforgettable.