UConn Police starts defense classes for students
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 00:09
The UConn Police Department has made it their goal to provide the highest level of safety to UConn students through the Rape Aggression Defense Program (RAD).
The UConn Police Department has partnered up with the Women’s Center community standards and off-campus student services in order to advocate the program. According to UConn Police Officer Caitlin J. Farr, who spoke on behalf of Lt. Magdalena Vargas of the Community Services Division, the program is a new initiative of Chief of Police Barbara O’Connor.
The main purpose of the class is to teach risk reduction and awareness for women in the college community. The majority of the class is self-defense techniques to use when facing threats of violence. RAD has been around UConn for years. However, there have always been outside instructors coming to teach the program in the past. This year, for the first time, UConn has 10 officers that were certified this past spring to teach the class.
“I was a student in the RAD program in high school, and I find it offers women empowerment and confidence and it teaches risk reduction strategies and the self -defense techniques that you don’t get anywhere else,” Farr said.
According to the 2011 UConn police report, there were 10 reported forcible sexual assaults on campus in 2010, compared to 13 in 2008. However, Officer Farr was unable to compare UConn’s safety to that of other universities and colleges.
Kathleen Holgerson, the director of the Women’s Center, believes that the UConn campus is no different from other college communities when it comes to campus safety.
“There is a lot of programming around the issue of campus safety,” Holgerson said. “We are better off talking about it.”
Holgerson stressed that the program focuses on ways to prevent sexual assault. She believes that the UConn Police Department has taken the lead to make this even more available for students.
“We are very pleased that the police department is partnering with the Women’s Center and other offices that are a part of this program to respond to the requests of self-defense workshops, but also provide this additional information that really helps our community to understand the difference between risk reduction and prevention activities and to think a little more deeply about these issues,” Holgerson said.
According to Farr, the RAD program will eventually be offered at the branch campuses. As of now Waterbury, Stamford and Avery Point already have instructors selected. Storrs campus will be first to test out the program. The October class is at full enrollment and has a waiting list. There is also the option to request special classes for groups such as sororities, clubs and sports groups. The next open enrollment class won’t be available until the spring semester 2013. Farr also mentioned that by partnering up with the other offices the police department hopes to build a strong relationship with other communities on campus.
“It’s an opportunity to work with police officers and meet other women that share the same ideas,” Officer Farr said. “It offers you tools and techniques to keep yourself safe, but it’s also about the confidence and empowering women. It helps you walk around campus with your head held up high, knowing you are in control of your own safety and if anything were to happen you can handle the situation.”