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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Recent attempted sexual assaults prompt students to think about safety, prevention

When night falls, some students may worry about walking out alone.

Eni Laska, a 19-year-old UF marketing sophomore, said the campus feels relatively safe until 10 p.m.

"There’s less visibility, and I always try not to walk alone," Laska said. "When I get the UF Alerts, I try to be watchful or just go inside."

This comes after students received a slew of UF Alerts from police responding to two sexual assaults reported around campus Saturday night.

With the kickoff of the school year, students are finding ways to protect themselves.

Student safety is a high priority, said Naomi Phineas, a University Police victim advocate.

With mobile apps like TapShield and Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, students can help protect themselves at night.

TapShield allows students to alert police of their location. It is similar to the blue light emergency phones on campus, Phineas said.

SNAP also offers an app to request its free nighttime transportation service that runs on campus from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.

If a student still needs a ride after 3 a.m., he or she can call University Police and get a ride for free, Phineas said.

Students looking to take further protective measures can participate in UPD’s Rape Aggression Defense program.

"RAD has been one of the most high-interest programs UFPD provides," said Tina Lamb, RAD program coordinator. "It has been and will continue to be."

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The classes are open to students, faculty and staff. Once focused on women, the program now also provides men’s classes with the UF Men’s Leadership Committee, she said.

For more help, students can seek assistance from the 24/7 hotline provided by the Counseling & Wellness Center at 352-392-1575 or look to GatorWell’s STRIVE group.

Lamb said it’s important for students to work together and take advantage of the opportunities to prevent sexual assault.

[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 9/5/2014 under the headline "Assaults prompt prevention"]

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