University promotes self-defense

MERYL PAINE
Staff Writer

The University of Scranton Police Department (USPD) will be running the Situational Awareness and Familiarity Exchange (S.A.F.E.) program, a program focused on providing women with tools and strategies to avoid violence and defend themselves in violent situations.

The primary focus of the S.A.F.E. program is teaching women to avoid violent situations and reduce risk. According to USPD’s website, “90 percent of self-defense is awareness, risk reduction, and avoiding confrontation; and only 10 percent is physical.”
The S.A.F.E. program was chosen by The University to engage students with crime prevention and safety, said Operations Coordinator Erica Armstrong.

“We decided to go with S.A.F.E. for two reasons. The first reason is that this program, while it does introduce people to self-defense techniques, it also focuses on risk reduction and personal safety awareness, which is something that we here at the university police want to promote,” Armstrong said.

“The second reason we chose the program is the time commitment. Other programs that are self-defense related can sometimes take six to seven weeks to complete, you have to go for an hour, two hours, but here, we wanted to do something that students would be able to fit into their schedules.”

USPD Investigator Kevin Rude, one of the USPD officers conducting the program, said that the focus of S.A.F.E. is mainly on teaching students to avoid dangerous situations.

“We focus on teaching students to practice good personal safety and to avoid getting into situations where they end up being victims,” Rude said.

When asked for one major point to take away from S.A.F.E., Rude said students should be confident about making decisions surrounding their personal safety.

“Most things S.A.F.E. teaches are common sense things; not walking home alone at night, locking your doors, not leaving valuables out in the open,” Rude said.

Rude said that The University chose the S.A.F.E. program due to increased national scrutiny on sexual assault on college campuses.

“With the recent climate and focus on college crime and college sexual assault, the university recognized the need for a program to address that, and they eventually chose S.A.F.E..” Rude said.

The S.A.F.E. classes will be held March 9 and April 6 at 7 p.m. in Brennan Hall’s Rose Room, and is free to all women of The University.

Students can register via RoyalSync.

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