NAU programs to enhance student safety

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Northern Arizona University will implement a series of new programs for the fall semester following the recommendations made by NAU’s Student Safety Task Force.

The task force, created by the Arizona Board of Regents in the fall of 2013 to promote student safety issues at the three state universities, presented its findings last month during the Statewide Student Safety Task Force meeting hosted by ABOR.

Cynthia Anderson, director of Residence Life and co-chair of the committee, shared NAU’s plan, which focuses on five areas of key concern: alcohol use and abuse, sexual assaults, mental health concerns, regional setting and snow-related accidents and campus transit issues for pedestrians, cyclists and boarders.

“Safety is always our top priority,” Anderson said. “When a student comes to NAU we are committed to providing a safe living, working and learning environment where students can grow and prosper.”

As part of NAU’s commitment to student well-being, educational efforts focused on crime prevention, sexual violence and mental health will be expanded. Continuing from last fall, all incoming students are required to complete the online MyStudentBody Essentials Course, an interactive prevention program on alcohol, drugs and sexual violence. The committee also seeks to increase the number of students, faculty and staff who complete Kognito, an online training simulation to help identify, address and assist students who are experiencing emotional distress, depression and may be at risk for self-harm.

Another recommendation the task force made is to offer students more on-campus, alcohol-free events. Students will gain an additional late-night hangout space, The Hub, when the newly renovated Fieldhouse opens for the semester. The Hub will host football nights as well as trivia, open mic and karaoke nights. These activities will supplement Sun Entertainment’s AfterHours events that include glow golf, dive-in movies and casino nights.

Anderson also hopes to expand on the success of last year’s alcohol-free Flannels and Flapjacks breakfast that welcomed 800 students the morning of NAU’s homecoming in 2013.

Other initiatives include working with local business owners to increase awareness of NAU’s alcohol risk reduction programs for off-campus activity such as Safe Ride and S.O.D.A.S. as well as implementing the recommendations of NAU’s Greek Life Blue Ribbon Committee.

View the full report here.