This year’s freshmen had a safer New Student Orientation than last year’s.
Five male freshmen were transported to the hospital this year, versus 11 last year. Seven females were transported as opposed to last year’s 13. Overall, there was a 43 percent decrease in hospital transports from last year’s 30 total students.
There were four off-campus burglaries — three from university-affiliated residences — from Aug. 22 to Aug. 26. Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush noted that the burglaries could be a result of students failing to secure their residencies properly.
“In any off-campus housing when there are multiple roommates, the one thing that is a concern for us is everyone has to be on the same team to make sure their doors are locked,” Rush said. “If the landlord isn’t properly securing the door, we’re happy to help.”
There were also four bike thefts during NSO 2013.
There are many organizations involved in keeping Penn safe, especially during high-risk occasions such as NSO.
The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives works to help students reduce negative consequences of alcohol use through their confidential program First Step. Our office is involved in providing trainings to student leaders and staff on how to proactively address [these] issues,” Associate Director Noelle Melartin said in an email. “First Step is available for students who may have experienced negative consequences during NSO, just as it is available throughout the year.”
The Division of Public Safety also emphasized the harms of excessive alcohol consumption. This year, their presentation to new students included more information on the relationship between alcohol and sexual violence.
“We really focus on the whole issue of consent to have sexual relations in a time when people are inebriated,” Rush said. “Alcohol is not a mitigating fact if you perpetrate sexual assault.”
Some student leaders responsible for helping their classmates with alcohol use are the members of the Medical Emergency Response Team, which holds special training sessions before NSO and Spring Fling. MERT also partners with DPS to present to freshmen on safety in Irvine Auditorium during NSO.
On Aug. 21, Training Officer and College junior Omar Sobh led MERT in seven different preparatory scenarios to refresh the necessary skills before NSO. These scenarios included cases of drug overdose, sexual assault, traumatic injury and alcohol intoxication.
While Penn Police patrolled the campus during NSO, MERT waited patiently in the Quad until they were called to action. “Because we are on an urban campus, we are able to respond much more quickly than a vehicle would be,” MERT Chief and College senior Maxwell Presser said.
Overall, Rush said that the Division of Public Safety is very thankful that the transport numbers went down this year and hopes the trend continues in the future. “We are cautiously optimistic that we can continue to work on a civilized and safe way of life for everyone.”Comments powered by Disqus
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