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Staying safe: Hite lays out safety tips for incoming students

Entering college, many things can change rapidly, from where one lives, one’s peers, and the community around. While this can be exciting, it’s important to also make sure to be safe at Pittsburg State University. 

There are a variety of different tips and tricks for staying safe. 

“No matter where you are whether familiar or new to an area, know that bad things can happen to good people anywhere,” said Chief of University Police Stu Hite. “So always be ‘situationally aware’ of your surroundings.  Trust your instincts. If something or someone doesn’t seem quite right or the hair on the back of your neck stands up, trust it… Someone wearing a coat when it’s hot sort of thing. Go a different direction or leave an area and get to a place that makes you feel more secure.” 

The University Police Department (UPD) is a 24/7 resource available to anyone and anywhere on campus. 

“We take safety and security very seriously,” Hite said. “First, we have a 24/7 full-service police department that are fully trained, certified and constantly learning and practicing best practices in our profession.  We also work closely alongside and with our partners and neighboring law enforcement agencies and first responders in looking at threats, crime trends in our area and any topic that would remotely affect our campus or students at Pitt State.” 

There are various forms of communication between UPD and PSU students and faculty. Surveillance cameras are also present in and around buildings around campus. 

“We have campus video and are working on updating and increasing our campus video,” Hite said. “And most importantly know that we are constantly monitoring our campus and surrounding area. If we become aware of a dangerous situation, we will send out a RAVE alert by email, text, and desktop notification if you’re on campus and connected to PSU’s network. Most common these will involve the rare Tornado Warning for Crawford County, especially in the spring when severe weather is most common. But it can be for any danger or important notice, we feel is important enough to notify all of campus.” 

If someone feels uncomfortable, unsafe, or even unsure about a situation, they have a variety of options if they want to contact UPD. 

“Report those feelings or incidents that cause those feelings immediately to University Police,” Hite said. “Either by calling 911 from a campus telephone or 620-235-4624, 24 hrs a day. You can also come to our office at 1501 S Joplin in the basement of Shirk Annex on our campus.” 

If students or faculty wish to report a crime, they may contact UPD, but it may be outside of their jurisdiction. However, UPD can get in contact with those who can help those involved. 

“If it’s a crime, vehicle or pedestrian accident that occurred on campus, call University Police,” Hite said. “If it occurs off campus it would likely be Pittsburg Police in the city limits or possibly Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. If in doubt, call us. We’ll make sure you get in touch with someone that will help you.” 

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