As a new academic year begins, there are many activities and requirements that compete for time, energy and attention. For some, new responsibilities and freedom, social events and class expectations. Others are preparing for academic offerings and ensuring facilities and the campus are ready for the thousands of students, staff, faculty and guests. And, of course, there is the excitement of Clemson football.
With all these activities and requirements, often we do not think about the basic functions surrounding safety and security. With that in mind, I would like to highlight several important elements that can assist University public safety personnel in achieving their goal of enhancing safety, reducing risk and preventing harm. The foundation for a safe and secure campus is to have everyone engaged. Safety and security is everyone’s responsibility and we need your help to make Clemson the safest it can be.
We accomplish this by following several basic principles:
- Targeted violence events are increasing in frequency and can occur at any time. Be mindful of your surroundings, pay attention to sounds and reactions to those around you, and be prepared to take swift action to protect yourself and others when faced with an incident involving an active shooter or other violence. Understand the concepts of Run-Hide-Fight and take an active role protecting yourself in dangerous situations.
- Run – Should you find yourself in a targeted violence incident the first alternative is remove yourself from the area and move as far away as possible. Do not look for belongings or wait for others to leave the area. Attempt to help others and guide them toward exits, however, do not delay leaving for those who refuse to do so.
- Hide – If you are unable to leave the area, secure yourself in a safe location. Look for an office or space that can be locked or secured and use whatever is available to add additional security to the door. Also, look for available objects that could be used as an improvised weapon should the need arise.
- Fight – As a last option, band with others and fight the assailant. Use any available weapon and the power of others to address the threat. Survival is the object and you need to meet force with force. Be aggressive and deliberate with your actions.
- Click here for additional information about Run-Hide-Fight.
- Don’t be a passive bystander. Notify CUPD or other responsible parties on campus about suspicious activity, observations, concerns or known threats. Watch out for friends and colleagues who may be having trouble with personal challenges that impact their ability to deal effectively with stress, anxiety or interpersonal relationships. Help us be proactive and address situations before they escalate.
- Be smart and exercise good judgment when engaging in social activities. We encourage everyone to follow the laws regarding the legal drinking age, use ride sharing services or a designated driver, and if you choose to consume alcohol, do so responsibly.
Individuals find themselves in dangerous situations that result in life long impacts where alcohol and other drugs are involved. This could involve over consumption and/or drink spiking which assists offenders who engage in a myriad of criminal behavior. Following these steps may help prevent drink spiking:
- Never leave your drink unattended, and keep an eye on your friend’s drink.
- Don’t accept drinks from someone you don’t know.
- If you think that your drink has been tampered with, don’t drink it.
- Consider bottle drinks and avoid punch bowls or pre-mixed cocktails.
Look out for your friends. When under the influence of alcohol or other drugs it is often difficult to make rational decisions. This is a dangerous time which increases the opportunity for predators to identify victims. By staying in groups, we add a layer of protection and reduce those opportunities.
- Good planning can make the difference between fun and tragedy. Numerous stories across the country, and in South Carolina, serve as vivid reminders of why we need to follow safe practices.
- Before going out, let someone know where you are going and what time to expect you back.
- Consider a security app to connect with a friend and display your planned routes to and from your destination.
- When possible, travel with groups of friends. Arrive and depart with them to avoid leaving anyone in a vulnerable position.
- Be mindful of the vehicle you enter. Check your ride share reservation application to verify the vehicle and driver prior to entering.
- If walking, use well-lit routes and avoid dark, isolated areas.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid paying exclusive attention to your phone. Situational awareness is critical.
- Be aware of online safety. Use good judgment and understand the potential for security threats. Taking caution limits your likelihood of becoming a victim.
- Use social media wisely. Be mindful of what you post and be careful when posting personal information, pictures or schedules that could be compromising.
- Handle online harassment safely. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable regarding an online situation, contact CUPD or local police immediately. Save text messages or other forms of communication from the harassing party.
- Protect your personal safety and property.
- Keep doors and windows locked to prevent unauthorized entry into your living space.
- Utilize safety features and access controls to secure residential, academic and administrative spaces. Avoid bypassing these protocols for convenience. Should a functional issue arise, notify your building security coordinator so repairs can be completed.
- Always lock car doors when unattended and do not leave valuables inside your vehicle.
- Download Rave Guardian. This online application is available to help keep you safe on campus. It provides you direct contact to CUPD, friends, family and others that you trust.
We encourage you to consider these safety tips as we begin a new academic year. CUPD’s goal is to provide you the best environment in which to live, learn, work and play. We cannot do this alone and need the help of each person that makes up the campus community. Safety and security is everyone’s responsibility and together, we can make our campus and surrounding area a safe and enjoyable space for our students, staff, faculty and guests. Please know that we are dedicated and committed to your safety and to making your Clemson experience the best it can be.
Gregory G. Mullen
Associate Vice President for Public Safety | Chief of Police