February 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 77  

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U of Sask examines safety issues

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

After two sexual assaults in the past seven months, the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is beefing up security measures.

According to Tasia Alexopoulos, VP-student issues for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, the changes were largely in response to a petition circulated by a new group on campus, the Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

“The petition requested an external security review, which [the university is] in the process of doing right now,” Alexopoulos said.

“Reviews are going on as a result of a couple of incidents that have happened here in the last couple months,” confirmed Janice Lavoie, community safety manager at U of S, specifying there are ongoing external and internal reviews.

Lavoie noted some of the changes to safety measures the university had already instated to keep the campus safer include lighting improvements in washrooms, increased foot patrols, more safety posters and releasing information.

“Anytime we have an incident serious in nature, we review the circumstances and if there are safety changes necessary, we make them,” she said. “It is certainly in our interests to have a safe campus — we work here, we live here, we study here.”

“My office has been here for two years because we take safety seriously at the university; I deal with violence and violence prevention,” Lavoie said, in response to a Feb. 4 article written in the University of Victoria’s student newspaper, The Martlet, which published the victim’s criticism to the university’s response.

Campus Community Police Service’s spokesperson Elgin Austen explained how similar campus safety concerns are addressed at Western.

“If [assaults] do occur, generally the campus police inform the Western campus about it,” he said, noting CCPS will often post signs and communicate the details to the media.

Lavoie did note the risk of assault cannot be entirely eliminated on campus. “We can’t guarantee 100 per cent safety — we are open to the public.”

—with files from Allison Buchan-Terrell



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