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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Is Wofford safe?

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A brief student survey reveals some good news, and some complications

Safety on college campuses is always a subject of discussion, and with Clery Act reports and detailed crime logs, there are lots of ways to find an answer to the question “is Wofford safe?”

A good place to start would be talking to Campus Safety officials, but to truly get to the center of the issue, The Old Gold and Black sent out a student survey that randomly assessed a number of students on how they gauged Wofford College’s safety level. The Qualtrics report is accessible online for specific details, and the newspaper would like to thank everyone who participated.

The survey was sent to a random sample of students at Wofford College as an attempt to gauge their feelings of safety on campus. To be sure, there is always some room for error between sample groups and entire populations. 

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Of the interviewed sample group, students from all classes were interviewed. In terms of demographic information, it should be noted that 62% of respondents identified as female and almost 82% were caucasion or white. While this may lead to some inaccuracies when reporting, it is generally indicative of the demographics of the Wofford population as a whole. 

After demographic information was cataloged, respondents were asked if, in general, they felt safe on Wofford’s campus. 93% answered yes. When asked to evaluate how frequently they felt safe, over 85% answered in the “always” or “often” category, with only a few people answering in the “rarely” or “never.” 

At a brief glance, this would indicate that the majority of students do feel safe on campus, which should be considered going forward. Any campus where the majority of students feel in danger would not be able to foster growth, creativity or success. 

Students were then prompted to rate the places where they would be most likely to feel unsafe, and “fraternity or sorority house” came up first with 38%. Second place went to the “other” category, where parking lots and outdoor spaces at night were often listed. 

Other specific questions were asked as well. When it came to the specific kind of safety concerns students had, 50% mentioned sexual assault or harassment. At the other end of the spectrum were alcohol violations (9%) and vandalism (5%). 

Whether or not there were certain discrepancies based on gender or ethnicity would be impossible to tell because of the anonymous nature of the survey. When looking at the data, it is hard to get the full picture. For this reason, we left an open comment section for response at the end. All responses were anonymous. 

While some responses addressed more individual concerns about discrimination and sexual harrassment, more were concerned about Wofford’s location in Spartanburg, one saying that “our location in the city is a point of concern” and a different respondent wrote “I would like to see Wofford be a closed campus with a gate.”

The presence of fugitives on the Wofford Campus has been an anomaly, with multiple instances last year. Chalmers Rogland, ‘22, was one of those on campus during an incident and even spoke to a fugitive.

“It was a strange experience. Considering there’s not much stopping someone from walking onto campus, I’m not surprised,” Rogland stated. “But it’s probably the sort of thing that’s unavoidable.” 

Rogland was also present on Campus recently, when, on Sept. 27, an armed fugitive was in the downtown Spartanburg area near campus.

Some respondents from the survey thought that a closed or gated campus may help keep the campus for students only. 

These instances are relatively scarce, and it would appear from a brief glance at the results that Wofford is a safe place. While there may not be the immediate presence of harm in the lives of the majority of students, it is important to note that only a small sample of the population was taken. 

Furthermore, because some of the responses of the survey indicated that some students do not feel safe on Wofford’s campus, it is possible that more actions could be taken to make the Wofford community a place where everyone feels comfortable and secure.

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