Carrying items used for self-defense in case of an incident is one of several ways college students manage to feel safe on campus. Some of the most common self-defense items include pepper spray, tasers/stun guns, blades, mini bats and tactical pens. Items like whistles and alarms are also popular among people for self-protection, but they don’t necessarily classify as weapons and are instead thought of as basic self-defense equipment.
Jeffrey Schneider, the director of campus safety at Pierce College, explained that any self-defense item above pepper spray is prohibited on campus for safety reasons and overall isn’t needed due to the strict security of both campuses.
“On campus, we don’t have any kind of issue where anybody needs to use those types of items to protect themselves, so I don’t really see a need for protective weapons on campus at all,” said Schneider.
Schneider included that, although he believes safety items aren’t needed for students on campus, it’s okay for students to carry items less dangerous than pepper spray. Alternatively, Schneider recommended students who feel unsafe on campus contact a security guard and have them escort the student to where they need to be. At the Puyallup campus, students can do this in the parking lot by going to the one of the few stations set up that provides a button that anyone can ring for security to come for assistance .
However, Schneider brought up that those stations are rarely ever used for anyone getting assaulted and needing help. “People use (the stations) several times a day, every day, but mostly around 95% of the time, it’s for non-emergencies, like someone being locked out of their car or lost something,” said Schneider, “Nobody uses them for being assaulted because no one‘s being assaulted.” Nonetheless, carrying self-defense items remains important for a number of students on campus.
According to student Katelyn Egnew, who carries a stun gun with her in her backpack, “I don’t really trust this parking lot at night so I like to keep (the stun gun) close to me just in case.”
Hearing stories involving college students being assaulted on campus was detrimental into why some students don’t come to campus without their self-defense items just in case. Student Courtney Oller explained how the reason she carries her taser on campus mostly has to do with past experiences that haven’t involved Pierce. “As a woman walking around campus, I’m not saying I don’t trust the school but I’ve just read so many stories about girls getting harassed at school while doing things like walking to their cars and whatnot,” said Oller. Both Oller and Egnew also believe that Pierce should begin selling self-defense items, like pepper spray, alarms and whistles, in the bookstore. These two women aren’t the only students who believe Pierce should start selling self-defense items in the bookstore Student Andriy Symchin explained that he doesn’t carry any self-defense items on him, though he still believes that Pierce should sell self-defense items for students. “Many students carry them already, like around their keychains, so I think that instead of having students have to go out of their way to get them, that they just provide them themselves,” said Symchin. Whether or not they’ll be being sold at Pierce anytime soon, students can still purchase self-defense items online through websites like Amazon or in some stores.
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