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Shasta College event stresses safety

ByAmber Sandhu

September is National Campus Safety Awareness month, and to commemorate and spread the word, Shasta College on Thursday hosted a campus health
fair with an extra focus on safety. “The more knowledge we increase, the less likely this will occur,” said Lonnie Seay, Shasta College campus safety director,
about campus crime. “This is about preventing crime.”  Seay said his department will use the month to educate students about different campus issues with various activities —what to do when an active shooter is on campus, a self-defense class, a situational awareness seminar by law enforcement, and an evacuation zone scavenger hunt. The month will close out with a screening of the documentary “Audrie & Daisy,” which discusses the story of two teenagers who were
were sexually assaulted after becoming intoxicated, and footage of the assault was distributed online.  Seay said he urges students to take an online program titled “Not Anymore” that’s geared to promote campus safety by helping students identify bullying, stalking, dating violence, sexual assault and harassment, and alcohol and drug abuse.

Early last year there were three reported incidents at Shasta College where women were approached by men who tried to get them into their car. The campus sent out warnings and alerted students and visitors about the incidents. There were no further reported incidents, and Seay said while crimes have been committed on campus, there have been no reported assaults.  Seay said college officials have partnered with One SAFE Place, the local domestic violence shelter, to help promote more awareness.

After scoring a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women, the college brought in an on-campus advocate about a month
ago from One SAFE Place to speak to students about domestic violence, sexual assault and much more.  The partnership program is known as Shasta CARES, which stands for Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education for Safety.  It’s already helped students.  “Our students are now more informed, so they come forward more,” Seay said.“One SAFE Place is an important part of our success to make sure a victim has resources here.”  April Maddox, the new on-campus advocate and prevention educator, moved into her office just a month ago, and she consulted with people who stopped by her booth, redirecting them to resources in the city. Maddox and Seay agreed that the most important part of safety has to do with advocacy. “That’s what’s good about spreading awareness,”Maddox said. “That’s why we’re here.” For Shasta College student Mary Conner, 17, she doesn’t feel unsafe walking around campus, but she does remain vigilant and observant. “Even if it means overcompensating, but it’s better to be overcompensating than to be,‘Oops, I’m dead now,” she said.  For Seay, campus safety for his students remains his very first priority. “These students are our future,” Seay said. “We have to provide them a safe place to be … so they can learn in an environment that is free of harassment.”