JU Mobile Safety

Approximately one third of U.S. college presidents believe sexual assault is a problem on American college campuses, but only six percent believe it’s a problem on their campus, according to a March 2015 Inside Higher Ed survey. With the shootings at college campuses becoming seemingly more present and headlines debating whether college campuses are safe, the sides are split on whether or not colleges are as dangerous as the media and conversations on campus have allowed.

Jacksonville University is not an exception, and is taking preventative measures to ensure that the discussion does not become a reality.

In collaboration with AppArmor, JU has released a free mobile app to help increase the security of campus. JU Mobile Safety is aimed to make contacts more accessible for students and strengthen emergency response reactions.

Adam Keller, junior theater major and graphic design minor, was the first student that Kevin Bennet, Director of Campus Security, showed the app to asking for a student’s perspective. He has used it a few times since then.

“I was walking past the library one night and I heard some pops going off,” Keller said. “It sounded like gunshots toward the DCOB area, probably off campus, and I called immediately and sergeant Palmer answered and said he heard it too and was going to send an officer immediately.”

The features of the app include emergency action plans, emergency contact numbers including the ability to schedule an appointment with the counseling center, updates about JU’s campus and more. There has been approximately 150 downloads the first week and more continuing, Keller said.

“I think the biggest advantage to having this app is in light of the fact of everything happening around the United States with gun control and with the event in Oregon, it’s best to have something like this to make sure JU is safe,” Keller said.

Though Keller considers himself safe on campus, he recognizes that others may feel differently and that JU’s location in Arlington is somewhat dangerous.

“Overall, I trust the officers who are putting their lives on the line for us,” Keller said. “We are attempting to break down any barriers that would keep us not safe at this moment.

As Director of Student Affairs in JUSA, Keller hopes to have more emergency blue light phone stations on campus, and golf carts that patrol at a constant rate in all areas of campus to avoid dead zones, bringing these ideas to Bennett. He believes this app is only the beginning of the steps JU can take to make campus more safe.

“To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, it’s one small step for campus security and one giant leap for JU.”