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NDSP, Off-Campus Council sponsor self-defense class

By Carolyn Hutrya | Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) and Off-Campus Council (OCC) are providing a self-defense class to help keep female students safe. 

The class, titled “Self-Defense Awareness and Familiarization,” or SAFE, will educate women about ways to reduce exposure to violence and crime. NDSP Sergeant Tracy Skibins, who will lead SAFE, said the class provides women with information that reduces their risk of exposure to violence and introduces them to the physical aspects of self-defense. It is open to anyone who lives off campus.

Senior Katie Kehl, OCC president, said the two-hour class will be today from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in room 319 of Hammes Mowbray Hall.

“We have capped it at 25 people just for space purposes and being able to work with each other on whatever the instructor asks,” Kehl said. 

Senior Kelly McRaven, OCC vice president, said for those who cannot attend SAFE, NDSP offers a longer self-defense class called Rape Aggression Defense (RAD).

According to the NDSP website, the RAD course costs $5 and lasts a total of 12 hours, The class is typically divided into four three-hour sessions. 

NDSP is happy to help with self-defense courses for other groups, organizations and residence halls on campus, Skibins said.

OCC would offer another self-defense course if more students were interested, Kehl said. She said having a self-defense skill set could help students feel safer both on and off campus. 

“Especially being off campus and people being on their own and independent, I think it’s just good to have basic knowledge and skills of what to watch out for, preventative measures, and then if necessary, how can you respond if there is a [dangerous] situation,” Kehl said.  

McRavbn said OCC has addressed safety concerns for students living off campu, over the past two semesters andehas sent out emails to keep students aware of robberies and other safety matters in the surrounding ares

Skibins said students can protect themselves from dangerous situations by making sure their doors and windows are locked and ensuring valuables are out of sight. She encouraged students to trust their instincts.

“If something does not feel right, then it probably is not,” Skibins said.  Ninety percent of self-defense is awareness, risk reductio, and avoiding confrontatio..”

The current OCC officers’ term ends April 1, but hehl said she hopes the new leaders will work to further their relationship with NDSP and neighborhood officials. 

“We also have relationships with the South Bend police, Mishawaka police, the Indiana excise police, so [we hope they will] continue to work with those different officers to come with a more mutual understanding of where the students are coming from, where the police are coming from and being able to work together and avoid issues,” hehl said.

Crime prevention tips are available at ndsp.nd.edu