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Personal Safety

Prioritizing your personal safety is fundamental to your academic and individual success at Widener. We offer resources to enhance awareness and provide you with the necessary skills for a secure and supportive campus environment.

In the dynamic landscape of college campuses, you may often encounter a range of social interactions that can shape your academic experiences. Unfortunately, within these environments, instances of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct can occur, posing significant challenges to your well-being and academic pursuits. If you experience any of the following, please reach out to Widener's Title IX Coordinator and Equal Opportunity Officer as soon as you can. 

Discrimination:

  • Racial Discrimination: Being treated unfairly or differently because of one's race or ethnicity by peers, faculty, or staff.
  • Gender Discrimination: Experiencing unequal treatment based on gender, such as bias in grading or opportunities for leadership positions.
  • Disability Discrimination: Facing barriers to access educational facilities or resources due to a disability, or being treated unfairly because of it.
  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Experiencing prejudice or exclusion based on sexual orientation, such as being denied housing or facing harassment.
  • Religious Discrimination: Being targeted or excluded because of one's religious beliefs or practices, whether by peers or institutional policies. 

Discriminatory Harassment:

Contact the Title IX Coordinator when harassment is based on personal characteristics including sex, gender, pregnancy status, age, race, color, national origin or ethnicity, religion, disability (including perceived disability), status as a veteran, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, or genetic information. Some examples of discriminatory harassment are:

  • Bullying: Being subjected to persistent harassment, intimidation, or exclusion by peers based on personal characteristics such as race, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Cyber Harassment: Experiencing online harassment, including cyberbullying, stalking, or threats via social media or other digital platforms based on personal characteristics such as race, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Verbal Harassment: Being subjected to offensive language, insults, or verbal abuse from peers or authority figures based on personal characteristics such as race, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Racial Harassment: Enduring racial slurs, jokes, or derogatory comments from classmates, faculty, or staff.
  • Bias incident: A graffiti racial slur is written outside of a student's residence hall room

Contact campus safety for general harassment that is not on the basis of any protected identity.

Sexual Misconduct: 

  • Sexual Harassment: Receiving unwanted sexual advances, comments, or gestures from classmates, professors, or staff members.
  • Sexual Assault: Being subjected to any form of non-consensual sexual activity, including rape or unwanted touching, by a peer, faculty member, or staff member.
  • Sexual Exploitation: Being coerced or manipulated into sexual activities or relationships by someone in a position of authority or trust, such as a professor or advisor.
  • Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Being offered academic or other benefits in exchange for sexual favors by a professor or staff member.
  • Hostile Environment: Experiencing a hostile environment where sexual behavior, comments, or jokes create an intimidating or uncomfortable atmosphere for learning or socializing.

The following are considered suspicious behavior and should be reported right away: 

Unusual or Aggressive Behavior:

  • Aggressive or threatening behavior towards others.
  • Unusual or erratic behavior that seems out of character.

Loitering in Unusual Areas:

  • Spending an extended period loitering near sensitive areas like entrances, exits, or utility infrastructure.

Unattended Items:

  • Abandoned backpacks, packages, or other items in public areas.

Photographing or Filming Sensitive Areas:

  • Taking photographs or videos of security features, entrances, or other critical infrastructure.

Unauthorized Access Attempts:

  • Trying to access restricted or sensitive areas without proper authorization.
  • Suspiciously checking for unlocked doors, especially in residential or restricted areas.

Attempts to Conceal Identity:

  • Wearing disguises or attempting to hide one's face from security cameras.

Unusual Interest in Emergency Procedures:

  • Showing an excessive interest in emergency evacuation routes, security protocols, or response times.

Tampering with Security Equipment:

  • Interfering with or attempting to damage security cameras, alarms, or other safety devices.

Unexplained Presence in Restricted Areas:

  • Being in areas that are typically off-limits to the public without a valid reason.

It's important to emphasize that behaviors don't need to violate the law or Widener policy to warrant concern. If you witness someone displaying a consistent pattern of troubling behavior, take action by conencting with Campus Saftey. 

Concerning Behavior:

  • Fixation on high-profile, violent incidents
  • Disproportionate reactions to various situations
  • Disregard for the safety or well-being of others
  • Unhealthy romantic obsession, often unreciprocated
  • Obsessive interest in firearms
  • Unwillingness to take personal responsibility, often shifting blame
  • Grudge-holding
  • Deterioration in job or academic performance, frequent absences
  • Alterations in personality, mood, or behavior
  • Severing social connections
  • Excessive, unwarranted crying
  • Neglect of personal grooming habits
  • Severe stress related to academic, job, financial, family, or relationship issues
  • Substance abuse (drugs or alcohol)

Escalating Behavior:

  • Disregard for appropriate boundaries in the classroom or workplace
  • Intimidating, belligerent, or defiant conduct
  • Confrontational, angry, unpredictable, or agitated behavior
  • Recklessness, antisocial behavior, or violence towards people or animals
  • Direct or indirect threats of self-harm or harm to others
  • Stalking

Your attentiveness in identifying and reporting these behaviors is vital for fostering a secure and supportive Widener community environment.

Personal Safety Resources & Report Forms

What should I do if there is a...?

In the event of suspecting an intruder on campus, immediately contact Campus Safety or utilize one of the 'Blue Light' emergency phones situated across campus, providing the necessary information.

If there is suspicion of an armed intruder in close proximity prioritize the following:

  • Escaping and vacating the campus or locating a secure hiding place. 
  • If outdoors, seek shelter in a nearby building. When indoors, stay in your room or office, securing the door if possible.
  •  If unable to lock the door, close it and block it with furniture or other large items. 
  • Turn off lights, hide under furniture, away from windows, and adjacent to a sturdy wall. 
  • Stay composed and silent while waiting for the arrival of the police.

In the aftermath, adhere to authorities' instructions if an evacuation of a building or the campus is warranted.

What NOT to do: 

  • Do not venture out to observe the situation.
  • Do not attempt to confront or apprehend the intruder.
  • Do not assume that someone else has already contacted Campus Saftery or 911.

To report a fire, promptly contact Campus Safety or utilize one of the 'Blue Light' emergency phones strategically positioned around campus. Simultaneously, activate the fire alarm and evacuate the building.

  • In the event you suspect someone may be trapped, please make Campus Safety or the fire marshall aware. 
  • If your clothing catches on fure, remember to STOP, DROP, and ROLL—avoid running. 
  • If confronted with heavy smoke, drop to hands and knees, crawl, hold your breath, breathe shallowly through the nose, and use a garment like a blouse, shirt, or jacket for additional filtration.
  • If trapped by fire, block smoke by placing a wet towel or clothing at the base of the door.
  • When retreating, close doors to create a barrier between yourself and the fire. Be cautious about breaking glass, reserving it for absolute necessity due to the potential influx of outside smoke.

What NOT to Do:

  • Refrain from attempting to extinguish a fire on your own unless it is very small and localized; always seek assistance by calling Campus Safety. 
  • Never dismiss alarms or presume them to be false; take them seriously.
  • Avoid using elevators during a fire emergency.
  • Do not re-enter your building until receiving notification from University officials confirming it is safe to do so.

Bomb threats are typically received via phone. If you receive a telephoned bomb threat:

  • Keep the caller engaged for as long as possible.
  • Document all information obtained, ideally taking notes while the caller is speaking. Avoid discussing the threat with others until your notes are complete.
  • Alert Campus Safety.

For other bomb-related or suspicious situations:

  • Examine your work area for any suspicious packages or bags. If found, refrain from touching them and report any such items to Public Safety.
  • If a bomb is discovered before authorities arrive, evacuate immediately.

What NOT to Do:

  • Do not assume a bomb threat is a prank; treat it as a genuine threat.
  • Avoid touching, moving, or covering a suspected bomb. Record its description, exact location, and promptly report it to the authorities.
  • Refrain from using two-way radios or cell phones in the affected area.

As the first sign of severe weather emerges, ensuring your safety is paramount. Stay vigilant by monitoring university alerts, local news, and weather forecasts from reliable sources. Sign up for campus alerts to receive timely updates and stay informed. Protect yourself by doing the following: 

  • Charge devices and identify closest shelters like interior hallways when watches are issued
  • Immediately seek safety in secure shelters when warnings are issued
  • Avoid rooms with exterior walls, windows or large, open spaces
  • Get underground or as low in building as possible, avoiding upper floors
  • Crouch down covering your head and neck, staying put until all clear
  • Use extreme caution exiting shelters, avoiding downed power lines, flooding 

What NOT to Do:

  • Do not stay in vehicle or try to drive away when warnings issued.
  • Do not stop in exposed spaces like under bridges or next to buildings.
  • Do not shelter in places with exterior walls, windows nearby in storms.
  • Do not use plugged in or electrical gear during thunderstorms.
  • Do not open windows or go outside when severe storms are near.
  • Do not call 911 unless needing to report injury/immediate danger (to avoid overwhelming first responder communication channels).

When faced with a medical crisis, every second counts. Here's how you can properly respond in those difficult situations until professional help arrives: 

  • Call Campus Safety or 911 immediately if the person is unconscious, not breathing, choking, experiencing chest pain, neck or back injury, head trauma, severe bleeding, burns or mental distress. 
  • Provide the dispatcher detailed location, number of people injured and type of emergency. 
  • Stay on the phone until help arrives. 
  • Follow emergency operator's instructions. 
  • Do not move someone with major trauma without training; wait for medical assistance. 
  • Administer basic first-aid, CPR/AED assistance if properly trained while awaiting help. 
  • Comfort the person by remaining with them, keeping them still and warm if needed. 
  • Send someone outside to flag down emergency responders. 
  • Clear area around the victim to allow space for treatment.

What NOT to Do:

  • Do not neglect calling 911 even if others offer to make the call—make it immediately yourself.
  • Do not administer medication, food/drink to unconscious or seriously injured people.
  • Do not crowd first responders—allow them full access.