Samantha Mossman has carried around pepper spray for years.
With two classes a week ending at 8:10 p.m., the 21-year-old UF psychology senior said the recent attacks have intensified her nerves about walking around campus at night.
“Luckily, because my class starts at 5:10, I can park on campus instead of having to take the bus,” Mossman said. “My bus stop is nowhere near the psychology building, so it would be a really far walk in the dark.”
UF and University Police have taken extra measures to keep students safe after their evening classes let out.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Jen Day Shaw said the UF Registrar has been helpful in creating maps of campus.
“We’ve run maps of campus of where are classes, when do they let out, how many people are in them,” she said. “Both the University Police and SNAP and the walking escort service are using those maps to try to station themselves in areas where students would need us.”
Shaw said faculty can make their own decisions about letting late classes out early.
“I’ll just say from the university perspective, we are trying to think of every possible option because student safety will always be our No. 1 priority,” she said. “Faculty has to do what they feel comfortable with.”
She said she has heard about classes discussing how people are getting to class, where they’re heading after and how they should always walk in a group.
Craig Roland, an art professor, said safety has always been part of the conversation in his late classes, as some end at 9 p.m.
“I will always emphasize when students leave the room not to go in a parking garage by themselves, not to walk alone by themselves,” Roland said.
Shaw said UF is hoping to sustain the Safe Walk volunteer escort program. It is set to run for the next three weeks, but then it will be looked at again logistically.
“It goes back to the whole ‘U Matter, We Care’ message,” she said. “We look out for each other, we take care of each other. That’s part of being in The Gator Nation.”
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 9/12/2014 under the headline "UF students, faculty take safety measures for late night classes"]