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August 6, 2018 | by  | in News Splash | [ssba]

Safety Concerns After Series of Attacks Around Campuses

Students are feeling unsafe after reports of a series of linked attacks around Massey’s campus in Wellington. There have been up to 14 linked attacks over the last six years, but media reports have come out more recently as several victims have come forward to the media.
The case is reminiscent of the attacks on the path past the Boyd-Wilson field to the Terrace, where two women were assaulted over Easter weekend in 2014. Then, like now, discussions of security became prominent: better lighting, more Campus Safety presence, more CCTV cameras, students told that it might be better to walk with a friend or take a taxi. Such measures may limit the possibility of violence and help to apprehend perpetrators, but they aren’t a blanket solution. Earlier this year, students pointed out that streetlights around Kaki Tonu Way, which were put in place as a safety measure, weren’t operating.
“I think it’s important that the university and Wellington City Council stay on top of that kind of maintenance to make sure we’re taking all the steps possible to create a safe environment for students.”
“My sister goes to [Massey Wellington],” said Kate Broadle, a linguistics student at VUW. “So [these reports] leave me a bit freaked out, a bit uncomfortable.”
“Hopefully they’ll catch who did it soon to stop people being in danger,” she added.
She is cautious around campus at night. “I don’t usually walk home by myself if it’s dark, I take the bus or I’ll take an Uber.”
Mina Clancy, a fashion student at Massey, expressed similar concerns. After hearing about the attacks through a Facebook group chat, she felt somewhat worried. “I have walked down that pathway,” she said. She isn’t sure if she could protect herself against an attack. “Maybe I need to know some self-defence, but it’s sad to think that it’d come down to that.”

Victoria’s Campus Safety team have a number of measures in place to make campus safe. As well as security guards, and a hotline number (0800 VIC 8888), there are and 342 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras across the three main campuses.
Sophia Haynes, a senior instructor at the Victoria Taekwondo club, had some suggestions for students who feel unsafe. “[You could] arrange a walking bus to and from campus for the dark winter evenings, follow your instincts, don’t be distracted by smartphones/ headphones, be aware of your surroundings.”
Victoria Taekwondo is offering free self-defence classes on Saturdays throughout August.
VUWSA have said they understand why there might be some anxiety in light of recent media stories, and welcome feedback if students feel like more should be done in this area.


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