Guest column by SGA President Chris Joondeph.
On my way home one night during orientation week, I witnessed a disturbing sight. I saw a girl who looked no older than 18 walking down Shaffer Street back to the dorms completely alone, in a short dress, and staggering back and forth across the sidewalk. She could barely walk in a straight line.
Now I’m not here to tell students how to live their lives. We are all adults, and we make our own decisions, but I am here to encourage my fellow students to be safe. As I saw this girl walking home, I kept thinking, where are her friends? Who took her to this party and then let her walk home alone? How did she let herself get so intoxicated that walking home alone sounded like a good idea?
We’re fortunate enough to live in a relatively safe community, but things still do happen. The Panther recently reported that Public Safety receives one to two reports of assault a year; however, three have been reported just this semester.
At Chapman, we have a small enough community that we know many other students. That being said, we need to look out for one another. We should be walking our friends and fellow students home when they have had too much to drink, and similarly we should be responsible ourselves and not drink to excess.
These incidents are not limited just to the wee hours of the night though. We need to be mindful of our safety at all times. Some of these recent events occurred on weeknights with no alcohol involved, and in the past some have occurred during the day.
I encourage anyone out at night to walk in groups and to watch out for one another. No one should be letting his or her friends walk home alone at night. This goes for men as well, because everyone is at risk for assault.
If you are alone and need to get somewhere, please call the student-run Safe Ride service at (714) 997-6680 (save this number in your phone) and request a ride. Student government created this service, which gives students a ride anywhere near campus at no charge on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Also consider attending one of the safety programming or self-defense classes offered by our fraternities, Creating a Rape-free Environment for Students (CARES), and Public Safety.
Lastly, remember that the Chapman community is our community and it is our responsibility to look out for each other.