Discussing campus safety with your student

Posted by
On October 24, 2023

Missouri S&T Campus at sunset. Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T

As college parents, one of our major concerns when our students head off to college is their safety.  We want our students to do well academically, we want them to be healthy, we want them to be happy, but first and foremost, we want them to be safe, especially with the decreasing daylight hours approaching.

Ideally, a three-way partnership will do the most to help keep college students safe.  Parents need to talk to their students about safety, students need to exercise awareness and behave responsibly, and Missouri S&T University Policy Department offers a variety of programs to strengthen students’ safety.

Concern for the safety of college students is a growing national concern in light of recent incidents and tragedies on college campuses. One law in particular attempts to address this concern.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act

Commonly known as the ”Clery Act,” this federal law is named for Jeanne Clery, a nineteen year old freshman at Lehigh University who was raped and murdered in her residence hall in 1986.  Students at the college had not been told about violent crimes which had occurred around the campus.  The law was originally named the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, and was first passed in 1990.  It was amended in August 2008.

The Clery Act requires any college, either public or private, that receives federal financial aid, to keep and disclose crime statistics on and near campus. Amendments to the law passed in 2008 require institutions to include a campus emergency response plan in their reporting. Colleges are required to have a plan to ”immediately notify” members of the campus community if an emergency is confirmed on campus.

Other amendments require institutions to disclose mutual aid agreements with state and local police units and to provide information about hate crimes, alcohol and drug use, prevention of/response to sexual assault, domestic or dating violence and stalking.

Institutions are required to publish their report in the fall of each year, and it must contain information for the prior three years.  The requirements are monitored by the United States Department of Education. View Missouri S&T’s Annual Campus Security Report and Daily Crime Report here.

Services available at Missouri S&T:

Rave GuardianBy downloading the app on their mobile phone, your student can invite friends and family to join your network as your “Guardians.” They can then request one or more of your Guardians to virtually walk with you on or off campus. It’s like having a trusted friend with you at all times.

The app also has a safety feature that directly connects you to the police in an emergency, as well as gives you the ability to text the S&T Police Department a tip regarding any concerns or suspicious situations.

Personal Security Escorts – The university police department provides a safe accompaniment for campus members who may feel apprehensive walking to or from their vehicles or residence halls.  Escorts are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To request a security escort, contact the university police department at (573) 341-4300 or police@mst.edu.

What should my college student consider regarding campus safety?

Parents can, and should, encourage students to increase their awareness of their actions on a daily basis. Parents and students might also consider some of the following factors:

  • How do students gain access to residence halls?  Do students have keys, swipe ID cards?  Don’t loan keys to others or prop doors open.  Never let strangers into residence halls.
  • Be aware of lighting on the campus at night.  Take a well lit path — even if it is longer.  Report broken lights to campus authorities.  Be aware of lighting around entrances to residence halls and other buildings.
  • Share your schedule with someone — a roommate or friend.  Let them know where you will be and when you expect to return.
  • Don’t walk alone at night.  Campuses often feel safe — and most campuses are safe.  But students should not have a false sense of security on a campus.  Common sense says that there is safety in numbers.
  • Be alert and aware of those around you.  Pay attention to where you are and what you are doing. Don’t be distracted by your phone or shut yourself off with earbuds.
  • A large percentage of safety incidents on college campuses involve alcohol and drugs.  Parents don’t like to think about this, but it is a reality.  Students need to be aware and to look out for each other.
  • Share phone numbers with parents.  Parents should have a phone number for an RA or Residence Director and for a roommate or friend.  Obviously, if the student shares these phone numbers, parents should reserve them only for emergency, but they may be important if a crisis occurs, and the parent can’t reach the student.

For the most part, college and university campuses are safe places.  Students and parents should not be overly concerned about safety, but they should be aware and use common sense.  An open conversation with your student about campus policies, your concerns, and his actions, will help him think about safety and help you to feel more secure about his well-being.


Author of Article:  Vicki Nelson. Article adapted from collegeparentcentral.com.  Please Note: Missouri S&T does not endorse or have a relationship with SOURCE and articles are provided for information purposes only.  Missouri S&T and SOURCE do not assume responsibility for error or omission in materials.  

Parent & Family Relations

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Phone: 573-341-6323 • Website: http://family.mst.edu/ Facebook: Parent & Family Relations at Missouri S&T

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On October 24, 2023. Posted in Parents and Family