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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Walking tour sheds light on campus safety for student leaders

A small group of University of Wisconsin-Madison student leaders gathered for a walking tour of the Langdon Street area Wednesday night to identify unsafe areas on campus to be addressed in the Associated Students of Madison’s fall Sexual Assault Awareness campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to bring together ASM, other student organizations, campus leaders and volunteers to promote sexual assault awareness and safety on campus, according to Associated Students of Madison University Affairs Chair Becca Buell.

Madison Police Officer Grant Humerickhouse led the tour, which the Madison Police Department organized.

Humerickhouse pointed out various areas of the Langdon neighborhood that could be “unsafe,” including unmarked back alleys between Langdon Street and Lake Mendota with little lighting.

He added installing barriers in the dimly lit alleys to discourage students from cutting through them might help prevent incidents.

Student Rep. Jeremy Levinger asked police officers if there were any areas on campus where sexual assaults tended to happen more frequently so police could focus in on those specific places.

But Humerickhouse said Levinger’s question is difficult to answer, because statistics have shown assaults are underreported.

“There’s not a single area that I would be able to point to except where there is alcohol,” Humerickhouse said.

According to Humerickhouse, one difficulty police face in protecting a university campus from dangerous incidents is the constant cycling in of new students.

“We have to continue to educate that frontline student to say not everyone out there is in your best interest,” he said.

Buell said the tour made him realize that students are not adequately informed about sexual assault awareness.

“It’s not necessarily one specific issue on campus, or issue in the Langdon Street neighborhood that we need to be focusing on,” Buell said. “It’s more [about] educating students and making them aware that there’s a lot that they can learn from the police if we collaborate with them.”

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ASM Chair Andrew Bulovsky said the recent surge of violence on campus sparked the idea for the Sexual Assault campaign.

“It’s a way to continue to educate students so they know ‘this is what you’re supposed to do, this is what you should not do,’ so that students are at least moderately informed of how to be safe on campus,” Bulovsky said. “Really, it should be a campaign every year.”

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