Campus Safety and Security

Campus Safety and Security

About the Office of Campus Safety & Security

Introduction

Many parents are concerned about the safety of their daughter or son on a college campus far from home. Eckerd College understands that concern and accepts its responsibility to employ security measures to ensure that our students enjoy their years at Eckerd College as free as possible from any threats to their safety or well-being.

Eckerd College is a community of more than 1,200 student residents. We are located on the southern tip of Pinellas county in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg itself has a population of almost 240,000 residents. As part of that larger community, the college shares many of the same interests and problems, including a concern about crime. Crime is a national problem that affects the area around Eckerd College, too.

Although the college has been fortunate in not experiencing a significant number of reported rapes, assaults, burglaries, and acts of criminal trespass in the past, it would not be honest to state that such incidents have not taken place. They have. To prevent such unfortunate incidents a professionally-trained college safety and security department works in conjunction with the residence life staff work to enhance our small communities' well being. Part of our efforts are aimed at empowering the students themselves in the realization that they are personally responsible for a number of measures that could ensure they and their possessions are protected as much as possible.

The Office of Campus Safety and Security

The Office of Campus Safety and Security has a force of up to fifteen officers. Many of these men and women are graduates of the St. Petersburg Junior College Criminal Justice Institute and undergo continual training to upgrade their skills. Most full time safety and security officers possess Florida Class "D" security licenses, are trained in emergency medical procedures, first aid, and CPR, and receive routine professional training throughout the year to enhance our service to the community. Our officers are not armed.

College safety and security officers conduct foot and vehicular patrols of the campus including the residence hall areas 24 hours a day. On campus the safety and security officer is the agent responsible for enforcing all campus regulations as well as federal, state and local laws. Campus safety and security officers will work closely with the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department to assist these agencies with any incidents that may occur on or off campus.

Safety in the Residence Halls

Eckerd College has both single sex and coed residence halls, each with 24 hour inter-visitation. There is no on-campus housing for married students. Freshmen are assigned housing on-campus, unless they choose to live off-campus; upper-class students select room and residence hall assignments. All students have the opportunity to request changes in room assignments, which are accommodated as quickly as possible based upon available facilities.

Off-campus housing includes apartments, individual homes, and individual rooms in private homes. The college does not provide supervision for off-campus housing.

Students, faculty, and employees of Eckerd College have access to the academic, recreational, and administrative facilities on campus. The general public may attend cultural and recreational events on campus, but their access is limited to only those facilities in which the events are held.

Access to residence halls is limited to students and their authorized guests. Strict key control procedures are enforced to ensure maximum student safety in dorms. (These procedures are set forth in the Office of Campus Safety and Security chapter found in the Eckerd College handbook). Exterior doors to most residence halls are equipped with a combination lock. These devices are utilized to provide more secure living quarters for our resident students while providing . In addition, all individual rooms have their own private locks and all windows have locking devices.

Resident Advisors, all of whom are members of the college residence life staff, live in the residence halls and are on call 24 hours a day. All residence life staff members undergo thorough training in enforcing residence hall safety policies. As a part of their responsibility for residence hall security, the residence life staff participate in lectures and seminars associated with the safety and security of the campus.

Special security procedures are in effect for students during low occupancy periods. During holidays and vacations, for example, resident students are often moved into one residence hall.

Above all, the cooperation and involvement of the entire college community but most importantly the students themselves in our campus safety program is absolutely necessary to promote and ensure a safe and secure community. It is essential that all resident students take an active role in protecting themselves from victimization. The easiest and most effective way to do this is by locking their residence hall windows and doors. This simple act would go a long way in preventing a significant portion of victimization.

The Office of Campus Safety enforces laws regulating underage drinking, the use of controlled substances, and weapons. Illegal drugs are not permitted on campus. Firearms and dangerous weapons of any type are not permitted on campus grounds. Possession of ceremonial or imitation weapons for use in a club or approved activity is permitted with approval of the Director of Campus Activities and/or the Director of Campus Safety and Security. The intentional use, possession, or sale of firearms or other dangerous weapons by students or their visitors or guests is strictly forbidden and is a violation of the student code of conduct.

Potential criminal actions or other emergencies on campus should be immediately reported by any student, faculty member, or employee of the college to the Office of Campus Safety and Security by dialing ext. 8260. Upon receipt of the call officers are dispatched to the site of the complaint or incident where they conduct an incident investigation, prepare and submit an incident report, forward this report to the appropriate college office for complete disciplinary review. In an effort to create as safe an environment as possible, students can make confidential or anonymous reports to the office of campus safety and security. Their are no special forms; the student complainant merely notifies the investigating officer of their request for anonymity or confidentiality.

As part of the programs sponsored by the residence life staff and by other organizations, including the Women's Resource Center and the Office of Campus Safety and Security, training and informational sessions are held on topics including personal safety awareness, crime prevention, fire safety, and disaster prevention. Information on safety and security is provided to students through electronic bulletins, posters, student newspapers as well as the residence life staff and student government.

Facilities Management maintains the college buildings and grounds with a concern for safety and security. It inspects campus facilities regularly, promptly makes repairs affecting safety and security, and responds immediately to reports of potential safety and security hazards, such as broken windows and locks.

The college campus is well-lighted, but in an on-going effort to make Eckerd an even safer environment, further lighting improvements are being made; including vapor lights on buildings, in parking lots, in areas with heavy landscaping and trees, and along pathways frequently traveled by students. There are emergency telephones strategically located throughout the campus. These phones are located on popular jogging routes, walkways and pathways across campus, as well as in office and classroom areas. Eckerd College safety and security officers also provide an escort service (to a car or dorm room) for students or employees requesting assistance.

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