Students should participate in self-defense classes

Life Editor Mari Williams

When I first arrived at UNA fall 2013, I heard nothing about the recent sexual assaults. It did not take long for me to be in the loop. In fact, the very first night an upperclassmen told me about the incidents that had taken place during the 2012-13 school year. My friends and I were shocked and frankly scared.

I knew sexual assault was something that could happen to anyone, anywhere, but I had not thought it was something that could occur so often on such a friendly campus.

This year I had the opportunity to attend an interview with Police Chief Bob Pastula about the free self-defense program UNA offers, R.A.D. I had heard of the program but like many other students, I told myself I could not go because I did not have the time. Now, if a freshman in his or her first semester of college told me they did not have the “time” to take an eight-hour course, I would simply laugh at their blatant dramatics.

As I sat with the writer listening to her interview Pastula and later interview instructor Shequanda Jenkins, I realized how serious of an issue the attendance was. In the interview Jenkins discussed her frustration with the lack of attendance to the class.

“The attendance is very, very low,” Jenkins said. “We usually have 16-25 people sign up every class, then we get to the class and we may have six to eight.”

I began to question why more students did not attend the course. I understood my silly freshman reasoning, but I could not understand why people who had been so close to the incidents refused to make time to take the course.

The most honest and simple truth is sexual assault happens all over the world and on every campus. There is only so much the police department can do to protect the campus. It is time students start protecting themselves.

They need to arm themselves with non-conventional defenses. Whether it be learning how to take down a 300-pound man by taking a self-defense class, avoiding unlit streets or carrying a tube of pepper spray, students on this campus need to stop being imprudent with safety and grab it by the cojones. We are all adults and at the end of the day your life is your responsibility.