Students at Augusta University hit the books just a few weeks ago. And after a recent attack in Statesboro involving Georgia Southern students, administrators want to make sure Jaguars remain safe.
Karleigh Rowell heard the news of three students being abducted, two of them sexually assaulted.
“It was awful. I felt bad for them,” she exclaimed.
Rowell and other students are taking solace in the safety measures already in place at their own school.
“It makes me feel a lot better like if I had to come over here at night and I didn’t feel safe, waiting on the bus I could call somebody and they would come and stand with me,” she said. “They’d escort me to my car if I drove over here.”
That call can be made at one of the many emergency poles on campus or through an app on a cell phone in the hands of virtually every student.
Critical Event Preparedness and Response Director Joe Webber said the goal is to make sure that students are aware.
“The Rave Guardian App, which is sponsored by the police department provides communication to the police department, it’s monitored and it has several different factors that go into the capabilities,” he said adding that police will give students rides as well.
After students download the app they can hit an emergency call button and their location is geo-tagged so officers know exactly where they are located. Students, faculty and staff are also automatically enrolled in Jaguar Alerts, a notification system used to push out breaking news from crime to severe weather.
Webber added, “We want to make sure that they have the education available to them so that they make the best choices for them. We operate off the paradigm that we believe that if they do have that education and that knowledge to have a better ability to make decisions that could impact their safety directly.”
Students told us they are already connected and they have peace knowing AU has systems in place.
“It makes me feel a lot safer walking here at night because I have a class that ends at 5 o’clock and during the winter it gets darker faster,” said Freshman Katherine McCartney.
Another student, Ian O’Malley gave some sage advice.
“I know it’s cliche, but it’s always good to hang out with friends and actually have other people around you. Also, we just have to remind ourselves anything can happen.”
In addition to the app and the alerts, the JagSafe Initiative creates a culture of safety that teaches everyone to just be alert.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins