Stay safe, be prepared

Stay safe, be prepared

Last month, an unknown assailant assaulted a young woman on campus. Pierce College sent an email detailing the incident. 

The report shared in the email states that, “A male suspect approached a female from behind and groping reportedly occurred. The female victim punched the suspect several times until he left running toward the area of Parking Lot 1 and out of view.” 

Pierce, as with most schools, takes threats to students’ safety seriously and has dedicated time and resources to making sure students feel safe on campus. 

Emergency phones are located throughout campus and in parking lots. The Sheriff’s Station on campus is open 24/7, and students are encouraged to call them if they feel they are in danger.

The Pierce website has a page where students are given a list of numbers to call. The same page also details ways to stay safe on campus. Students are told to travel in pairs or groups, how to be a good witness, and where to report a crime if it does happen. 

All of these resources are accessible to students whenever they need them, but assaults like the one that took place last month still happen.

So what are we doing wrong?

The answer is nuanced and does not place blame on Pierce as an institution. The issue at hand is a larger, systemic one that can be addressed through means other than delegating students’ safety to themselves. 

Schools across the United States are experiencing an increase in violence on campus. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that one in every five women in college report being sexually assaulted. 

In November of 2022, the University of Virginia experienced a mass shooting, followed by the Michigan State University shooting just last month.

Pierce and other colleges have put a bandage on the problem of violence on campus by supplying more deputies and/or security guards on school grounds. Colleges and universities need to institute more proactive and preventative approaches to violence. 

Educating students on what violence looks like, both verbally and physically, allows them to identify when violence is occurring around them. 

In addition to providing useful information on Canvas, Pierce could hold an event on campus each semester, giving tips to students on how to stay safe and highlight resources. 

The role of Pierce also is to enforce strict disciplinary and legal action against students or others who are the perpetrators of that violence.

This isn’t to say that the resources provided by Pierce and the district aren’t valuable. They allow students who are victims to seek adequate care and support. Still, prevention is the best protection, and by creating an environment on campus that not just supports victims, but condemns those who act violently, Pierce can prevent crimes on campus before they happen. 

Resources are available on and off campus to aid. Visit Title IX Homepage ( for resources and support.