VCU police are attempting to educate students with safety talks by traveling to each dorm during the month of September.
Tuesday night, Officer Cocke held a safety session at 7 p.m. and another at 8:15 p.m. at Cary and Belvedere. Though there was only one resident, three RAs and a dorm security guard for the optional session, Cocke said some of the talks have presented up to 50 students. Topics discussed included Title IX, domestic assault, stalking and dating violence.
“We’re trying to reach as many students as possible,” she said. “We’ve kind of implemented a new strategy this year so hopefully we can achieve that and improve our attendance from last year.”
She said each semester the police do safety talks with students to help make them aware of the programs in place to increase safety on campus. This year they hope to reach students directly by visiting each dorm. She discussed transportation options such as RamSafe, The Connector and G4S security. G4S security officers drive around the campus looking for dangerous situations.
She also discussed the LiveSafe app which students can use to text in anonymous tips to the police.
“This is police department specific but we’re trying to make sure that they know that there are other resources on campus in case they don’t feel comfortable coming to the police to talk about certain things,” Cocke said.
During the session, Cocke also spoke of alcohol and drugs on campus and said VCU has a zero tolerance policy of both.
“The worst thing in the world would be to wake up to a friend who’s passed away because of alcohol poisoning or asphyxia because they suffocated on their own vomit,” Cocke said. “So that’s what we’re trying to make sure of, that students are aware that that is a reality when you drink excessive amounts and to use that bystander intervention mentality.”
Sophomore biochemistry major Frank Simons attended the session in Cary and Belvedere dorms on Tuesday night.
“I thought to myself well it couldn’t hurt to get more information,” Simons said. “It was pretty helpful.”
He said that though he knew about most of the topics discussed he was surprised by the confidentiality portion. Officer Cocke said if a friend who is under the influence reports another friend in fear that they are experiencing alcohol poisoning, they will not necessarily experience repercussions for doing the right thing.
“It was pretty cool,” Simons said. “I would like a little more involvement with the audience rather than just loads of information.”
At the session, students were provided with brochures containing more information and had the chance to enter a police raffle for an iPad. VCU police plan on visiting all residence halls on both the Monroe Park Campus and MCV campus.