October events emphasize spirit of safety

October 10, 2014 | UToday
By Cynthia Nowak

Halloween casts a long shadow over October, but a monthlong calendar of safety-themed University events takes the focus beyond ghouls and zombies to engage everyone in keeping our campus safe and welcoming.

HO 456 not on my watch_CollegianBuilding on October’s national designation as Crime Prevention Month, the Division of Student Affairs is bringing back its Not On My Watch initiative, a student-centered partnership between the division, the Center for International Studies and Programs, Student Government and The University of Toledo Police Department (UTPD).

Not On My Watch offers students four weeks of programs and activities relating to safety, showing them how they can become active participants in their own well-being.

“What you learn from Not On My Watch can be used throughout the entire year,” said Virginia Speight, director of residence life.

“Because they were so successful last year, this year’s Not On My Watch safety programs and activities will be even better at helping our students adopt habits that will have a positive effect on their safety and on campus safety overall.”

UT Police Chief Jeff Newton added, “We’re very pleased to continue Not On My Watch. Educating and empowering our students is an effort that goes on all year long and helps create the safest campus environment possible.”

As part of the October events, UTPD will conduct an ALICE — alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate — training that covers effective responses to violent intruder attacks, including active shooter situations.

October is also designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, for which the Counseling Center created special programs and activities that provide another vital piece of Not On My Watch.

Among the events to raise awareness of domestic violence is Silent Witness, an international initiative that uses life-sized exhibits as a memorial to women murdered in such cases.

A vital component of educating people on domestic violence is reaching men and making them allies, said Dr. Stan Edwards, director of the Counseling Center: “That’s why we’re also including activities geared to the men of UT, and why we have activist Rob Okun coming to campus on November 3 to talk about how men all over the world are redefining the definition of masculinity to create healthier lives.”

Supported by the Counseling Center, UT Student Government is playing a key role in spreading the message of the national “It’s On Us” campaign launched last month by President Barack Obama, aimed at ending sexual assaults on campuses nationwide. UT Student Government is creating an informational video, and UT students will be able to play an active part in the campaign by taking a pledge to be proactive in helping stop campus assaults.

“This is a great partnership,” said clinical social worker Angela Daigneault, who heads the Counseling Center’s Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program. “Our Student Government representatives are very enthusiastic about promoting this initiative, and their efforts will be critical in getting the entire student population on board.”

The Not On My Watch programs hosted by various University departments can be found online at utole.do/notonmywatch.

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