Editors Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series on campus safety.
Northwestern is the safest college campus in the state of Iowa, according to Niche.com. Niche uses metrics that measure campus crime and drug and alcohol use combined with data from the Department of Education.
This accomplishment would not be possible without an administration that values the safety of its students. After students shared safety concerns and stories with campus security, changes were made to ensure NW continues to be one of the safest college campuses in the country.
In the middle of September, after receiving concerns from residents of Fern Smith Hall about feeling unsafe while walking from distant parking lots to their dorm at night, an extra row of parking dedicated to Fern residents was added to lot H. Lot H is located directly to the east of Fern. In addition to this change, lights were added to areas in lot F to create a safer environment.
It is easy to understand why students are concerned about walking alone at night. The state of Iowa was rocked when multiple girls were kidnapped this summer, including the heavily reported story of Mollie Tibbetts. Many Iowans were shocked to learn that kidnapping and sex trafficking could occur in small town Iowa.
Concerns about school shootings have also increased throughout the last few years. Dean of student life Julie Elliot commented on this concern.
“We held active shooter scenario training with faculty and staff this summer and intend to expand that training to include students in the near future,” Elliot said. “We’ve assessed every building on campus to ensure that it can be easily locked down in the event of an active shooter.”
Elliot went on to describe how NW has worked to cooperate with first responders in Orange City, especially the Orange City Police Department, to ensure they can provide immediate responses to threats on campus.
Campus Security Director Andrew Van Ommerman had some advice for students in case of emergencies. If students ever feel threatened, their first response should be to call 911 and report any information they can to the police. Police need to be involved before investigations can begin, or if a crime has been committed, so arrests can be made.
After calling the police, it is important to call the campus security number to relay any helpful information. Campus security can be reached at 712-707-7475.
It becomes harder to investigate, get help or prosecute if a call is delayed even a short amount of time. Immediate information can be invaluable in identifying a suspicious individual or preventing a crime from happening.
To clarify from last week’s article, it is important to relay that the subject in question was identified by the Orange City Police Department and the situation has been handled.
To ensure the campus community remains safe, it is up to all students to familiarize themselves with emergency procedures.
Students should have received an email containing the annual security report, which details the procedure for what to do in an emergency (pg. 5), how to report suspicious activity (pg. 47) and emergency contact numbers. This information can also be accessed on the NW website under the “Campus Security” tab.
Campus security will continue to be an issue college administrations across the country grapple with. Students at NW can be encouraged to know they have an administration that prioritizes their safety.
At the same time, students should be cognizant that threats to their safety can happen even in Orange City, and they should be prepared to respond to those threats.