With almost 2,000 people calling the University of Saskatchewan residences home, student safety and security is an important aspect of resident life. The question is, how secure is living in residence and what preventative measures are taken to keep resident students safe?
Located on and off campus, College Quarter, McEown Park, Voyageur Place and Grad House are the four residences that house a significant number of students each year.
Associate Director of Consumer Services George Foufas said security is a priority with such numerous people coming in and out of the buildings.
On moving day, all residents have their student cards coded for exclusive access to the particular residence they will be living in. Key-card access prevents intruders from coming into buildings.
Each residence has security cameras, is well lit and has Protective Services (formerly known as Campus Safety) patrolling the grounds from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night.
The residence office and resident advisors collaborate with Protective Services on a regular basis to keep students safe. Regular reports are sent back-and-forth concerning incidents in the residences, which keeps all parties informed.
“We work very closely with Protective Services on campus and we promote the fact that students can call them if they have any issues. Sometimes it’s as simple as someone getting locked out of their suite, but sometimes it’s something more serious,” Foufas said.
Protective Services play an integral part in monitoring the activity of students in residence. Harold Shiffman, manager of finance and administration for Protective Services, said any of the resident life staff, such as residence assistants, can be notified if there is a problem.
“Resident advisors tend to do a lot of the walking around and general patrolling of the area, because they know everybody and are comfortable talking to the people in residence,” Shiffman said. “If something gets out of control, or something needs criminal investigation, then that’s when we step in.”
Shiffman said the residence halls are not “crime-ridden” and have a low crime rate. Most of the incidents reported at the residences occur in their parking lots, especially in the U-Lot where both thefts of personal property and break and enters are common occurrences.
“Theft is really common in the parking lot. That’s the number one place where thefts occur in residence. Where there are cars parked, there’s usually a lot of theft and people breaking into vehicles,” Shiffman said.
Protective Services recommends removing personal items from vehicles when parked in any of the campus parking lots to avoid break-ins.
There are many things students can do to ensure their safety while living in residence, such as locking doors, making sure they are properly shut, only letting people they know into the residences and keeping their key card in a safe place.
Additionally, all residents are encouraged to get to know the people in their residence hall to assure a heightened sense of community and safety.
First-year engineering student Emily Farago, a resident of Athabasca Hall in Voyageur Place, has had a positive experience in residence so far.
“I really do feel safe in residence. They make it clear who to contact if there is a situation that needs to be resolved. We have our personal RA’s number, the number for the RAs on duty and can also contact Protective Services if we need to,” Farago said. “No matter what, there is always someone I can call if there’s an issue.”
Above all, the community aspects of living in residence have made Farago feel comfortable and at home at the U of S.
“My experiences living here have been really good so far,” Farago said. “I really love it here.”
Graphic: Stephanie Mah