Safety at Simpson vs. other Iowa colleges


Simpsonian archived photo

by Jessica Wood, Special to the Simpsonian

Students at Simpson College are expressing their wish for better security and campus safety after a reported sexual assault last month.

On Feb. 28, a sexual assault happened at Simpson in Buxton Hall. The sexual assault included one female student and was reported as multiple males. The incident has renewed discussions on campus about safety and whether or not the college should install more security cameras.

When compared to other colleges in Iowa, Simpson does not have the same type of security system when it comes to cameras. Drake University has cameras around campus, but Drake senior Jennie Foglesong said she didn’t know if there are any monitoring the dorm halls. Iowa State University, meanwhile, has cameras inside and outside of every door of all their buildings, according to AJ Anderson, a graphic design student at Iowa State.  

Senior Darius Doswell, who transferred from Iowa State, said he feels safer at Simpson than at ISU but thinks Simpson should install more cameras outside of dorms.

Sophomore Jeremy Risesster, however, feels safe at Simpson and thinks installing cameras wouldn’t stop incidents from happening.

“Cameras are very expensive, first off, but I had cameras in my high school. You could do it, but it wouldn’t stop people from doing anything,” Risetter said.

Risetter acknowledge part of the reason he feels safe on campus is because of the smaller population size compared to when he lived in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Other Simpson students, such as sophomore Noeline Boardman, feel less safe on campus. Boardman said she lives in Buxton Hall but frequently spends time in Picken.

“After dark, I feel less safe. I will be in Picken which is right next-door to Buxton, and I will still feel the need to let my friends know when I get back to my dorm,” she said.

Boardman explained her fear was because of the poor lighting and large dumpsters, which block her view.

When Chris Frerichs, head of security, was informed about Boardman’s concerns on lighting and walking home, he put in an order for a lighting check right away. He said he wants students to know they always need to inform security of locations they don’t feel safe in.

Aside from security cameras, Simpson and other colleges such as the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa and Drake University have adopted other security measures

For example, UNI has a system where students can only get into their assigned dorm hall no matter the time of day. The university has blue poles with buttons on them throughout their campus. Therefore, if someone feels unsafe or sees a crime, they can press it and it will notify UNI police right away, according to UNI sophomore Jacob Cash.

The University of Iowa has blue poles like UNI. If the button is pressed on their poles, an alarm goes off, 911 is called and a camera begins videotaping everything within 180 degrees, according to Iowa senior Skyler Lawson.

Most of Simpson’s parking lots have these blue police poles as well.

Along with blue poles, Drake University has a smartphone app called Drake Guardian. The app acts as a panic button that immediately connects students with security. The app can also act as a safety timer: If it is not deactivated after the amount of time the user sets it for, public safety will contact them, according Foglesong, the Drake senior.

Although Simpson students have mixed feelings their personal feelings of safety, campus security and Residence Life are working together to make sure students know security protocol and are aware of the options available to them.