The recent death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts has called safety into question for several college students. According to CNN, Tibbetts was jogging when she was attacked by a man she had not been previously associated with. The immigration status of the man charged with Tibbetts murder has been a focal point of the news coverage following the case. Drake student, Ellie Hilscher, shares her thoughts about the coverage
“I feel like a lot of people are making it about the race of the guy who was charged with her murder and that is not what it should be about, it should be that if a woman says no she means no,” Hilscher said.
Violence against women is a prevalent topic for college students. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one out of every five women are sexually assaulted while in college.
Third-year Drake student, Delia Koolick, shares her thoughts on the case as well.
“Because she said no, that guy killed her. It’s pretty scary because she should have been able to just go on a run and be fine, but she wasn’t.”
Ayana Anderson, third-year, says that this case was tragic, but that in a way it is reality.
“When you look at the big cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and even Minneapolis there are hundreds of girls missing from doing similar everyday actions,” Anderson said.
When considering the safety of women at Drake, Anderson says that there are two parts to how she feels about her safety.
“I think I’m relatively safe on campus because I don’t feel danger walking to class or anything, but I do think that because Drake doesn’t give the best punishments to certain acts on campus I don’t think people are dissuaded from doing things that would hurt other people. So, at night or at a party that’s when I would feel more unsafe,” Anderson said.
Anderson is not alone in showing concern regarding Drake’s responses to conflicts on campus. In the spring semester, a Twitter account titled Drake Students for Justice was created in response to the administration’s reaction to sexual harassment allegations against a Professor. Several students were frustrated that the Professor was allowed to resign, rather than be fired.
According to the Des Moines Register, leaders of the faculty senate stated, “the university has acted appropriately since receiving the complaint, to protect students’ identities and well-being and effectuate Hamad’s departure from campus.” Drake provides options to report misconduct at drake.edu/titleix.
In order to protect oneself, Koolick mentions Drake resources that women can use, such as the Guardian App; however, she also states that women should not have to be the ones to change their behavior in order to be safe. Koolick also mentions the work Drake Public Safety does to protect students.
“I think that public safety works really hard and they do a really good job of being visible on campus. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see an officer walking around which I think is really nice,” Koolick said.
In terms of what needs to change, Hilscher states, “I don’t think women are ever going to feel 100 percent safe walking alone at night somewhere, whether that be Drake or anywhere. I do feel like there can be things changed and added, but at the same time I feel that women are always going to have that little on edge feeling at night.”