Safety at Tufts: What every Student Must Know
I know, we’ve all been there. We’re seniors in high school, visiting our dream college (Tufts of course!) and the tour guide keeps babbling on about safety… why can’t we be told how the food actually tastes, how hot the students really are, and how many nights a week we’re allowed to party without being judged? While these things are important (check out…. articles), safety does count. And there are some things tour guides don’t cover that every Tufts student should really know.
Overall, Tufts is a safe campus, and Officer Christopher Fielding of the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) would agree. He believes that “the Tufts community, University Administration, and Department of Public Safety have a great working relationship with the main goal of keeping our students, employees, visitors, and campuses as safe as possible.”
That said, there are unsafe locations on campus. For instance, theft is not uncommon at the Tisch Library. It’s always recommended to stay with your belongings or ask someone to watch over them if you step out for a few minutes (because who doesn’t need a coffee refill once in a while?). Theft is also present in residential dorms from time to time but, of course, this can be avoided by locking your door.
As for the evening social scene at Tufts, Office Fielding points out that “noise complaints, disturbances, and the occasional alcohol related medical aid call” bring TUPD to investigate off campus apartments from time to time. Nevertheless, he recognizes that Tufts’ college environment “is for the most part a fun one.”
Yes, feeling unsafe may happen. After all, we all know what it’s like to leave Tisch late at night or come back to campus from Davis Square in the dark. Luckily, there are many safety precautions that can be taken! Firstly, every single Tufts student should program TUPD emergency and non-emergency phone numbers in their cell phones. They are:
Emergency number: (617) 627-6911
Non-emergency number: (617) 627-3030
SAVE THESE NUMBERS NOW!
Secondly, the entire campus is equipped with blue light phones at all buildings and walkways. These phones contact TUPD directly. If you can’t stay near the blue light phone after using it, it’s advised to keep walking towards another blue light phone, and hit it’s button too, then the next; this way, your path can be tracked. Otherwise, stay where you are and TUPD will be there in a flash.
It’s always recommended to call TUPD if you feel unsafe for any reason. You can either stay on the phone with them until you arrive at a safe destination, ask them to come perform a security assessment of your off campus apartment (they’ll check that doors and windows lock properly, walkways are well lit, and discuss any questions you may have).
Do you know about the ResCop program? Hosted by the office of residential life and TUPD, a liaison officer each dorm is assigned a liaison office who will ensure the safety of its residents and attend occasional RA meetings. What more? Various Tufts events are attended by community policing divisions that support the greatest safety on campus.
Now, onto Davis. There’s the Davis Square Shuttle that’s super practival, running until Midnight Sunday thru Wednesday and until 2am Thursday, Friday & Saturday. When it’s not operating, the ‘GoSafe’ program is available- TUPD will accompany where you’re going or give you a ride. If you’re feeling stubborn (or trying to prove that you’re truly an “independent woman”), walk with a friend. Choose your path back to campus by sticking to the well lit streets and main streets like College Ave, Packard Ave, or Curtis Street.
In reality, danger cannot always be avoided. It’s really important to observe your surroundings at all times… indeed, this means looking up and not at your smart phone. Office Fielding notes, “I’ve had students walk into the side of my patrol car while stopped at a stop sign or red light because they were texting or browsing on their cellphone. I’ve even witnessed this while students are walking using their tablets or laptops.”
“Woman are not powerless in any potential dangerous situation,” states Officer Fielding. Tufts has the enormous advantage of offering RAD! “Rape, Aggression, Defense” is an Experimental College class that aims to equip women with basic self-defense skills. It teaches risk reduction and awareness as well as the application of force necessary to defend oneself sufficiently to escape from an aggressor. Taught by TUPD, RAD is a fun and extremely practical pass/fail class, which awards 0.5 credits, and is offered every year. One RAD student stated, “RAD teaches me that I am stronger than I thought, and every class I feel more and more confident about my ability to defend myself. The teachers are amazing and I highly recommend the class!”
As always, Tufts’ awesome police department is available to answer any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate! In the meantime, look up, be observant, and stay safe.