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Student groups push for campus safety changes at IUPUI

Posted at 10:07 AM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 10:07:55-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Campus safety continues to be a topic of discussion at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and it comes following reports of sexual assaults that have happened on campus and left some students feeling unsafe.

IUPUI's Department of English devoted Thursday to talk about student-led initiatives focused on campus safety.

"I feel like a lot of people don't necessarily know the resources that are available and the resources we want to bring to campus," Mikaelah Jackson, a freshman, said.

She and Emma Kafka, a sophomore, helped form JAGS S.A.F.E. The acronym stands for Safety and Accountability For Everyone. Jackson and Kafka both say they don't feel safe, at times, on campus.

"I personally have to always watch my back, grasp on to my pepper spray whenever I'm walking because you never know who's going to be out there," Kafka said. "It's the city, so there's a lot of people and I think this campus, more than other campuses have to focus on safety a lot more."

JAGS S.A.F.E has three demands:

  • Sexual Assault Prevention through adequate education. Improved accountability for perpetrators and support for victims
  • Increased mental health resources and affordability for all students
  • Transparency and stronger ties between IUPUI students and IUPD

Some ways the demands can be met, according to students, include the following: making it a requirement for students to have a course about sexual assault, therefore increasing awareness, how to spot and stop it, etc.; bringing in more counselors for students; being able to have an open dialogue about interactions, good or bad, with IU Police.

Their website shows how they're working to make these changes happen.

RELATED | Callisto offers IUPUI students many ways to respond to sexual assault

JAGS S.A.F.E isn't the only student-led movement with a focus on campus safety. Since last fall, WRTV have chronicled ISAAC (Indiana Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign) and their push for increased safety at IUPUI.

The group formed after a reported sexual assault happened in the stairwell of University Towers. ISAAC has taken their message to different campuses across the state including Purdue and Hanover College.

"We stand with survivors, we believe them. They're justified and universities need to respond better," Noah Thomas, one of ISAAC's leaders, said.

All the movements and groups at IUPUI, addressing campus safety, can be described as a coalition. They're working toward the same goals, doing it in their own way, all the hope of making campus safer for current and future students.

When reached for a comment, Indiana University spokesperson Chuck Carney said the university system take the concerns being brought up to them seriously. Carney also said the university continues to work on the issues that are being raised of concern regarding safety at IUPUI.