When, where, what? Programs by the UPD

Maiah Woodring, Staff Reporter

Although the University Police Department can be seen on campus at events like the last football game, monitoring and surveying the event, Patrick Gipson, police lieutenant, wants everyone on campus to know the department beyond this perspective.

“We also like to engage with students in a non-enforcement manner, to make sure that they understand why we do what we do, and what they can do to keep themselves safe and how they can help us keep the campus safe.”

Recently, UPD has been hosting one to two programs each week.

“We offer a lot of programs,” said Gipson. “We do a self-defense program for women. We speak about stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault, some online safety classes, personal safety. Those are the ones that we do the most and we do a lot of other classes too.”

Since the classes are conducted on request, they may not occur as frequently. These programs can vary in size, location, instructor and length.

“Our self-defense classes are limited to 10 people because of the personal nature of it and because we are teaching a physical skill,” said Gipson. “You have to have time to practice different things, so those class sizes are limited, and they’re usually full,”

The size of other programs can depend on how well they are advertised and when they occur during the week. Gipson recalled giving a presentation to an audience of a little over a thousand.

Classes can take place in different locations such as classrooms, and may take over an entire class period.

“If we’re doing a self-defense class it needs to be in a place where we have room and space to move around, and it also needs to be in a private location,” said Gipson. “We don’t tell anybody where that class is held unless they are actually in the class because it is not a spectator class.”

Although self-defense classes last for an accumulative 12 hours and stretch through the weekend, an online safety class can be as short as 30 minutes.

“The only really long program that we do is the self-defense class because the nature of teaching self-defense requires time,” said Gipson. “You can’t teach a self-defense class in an hour.”

Gipson finds student reactions to UPD’s programs to be positive.

“Many students come back afterwards to say that they didn’t have the information that we provided, and they kind of wondered, but never really felt comfortable asking,” said Gipson.