PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In response to a number of assaults on college students in the city, Providence College is implementing a number of security measures to keep everyone safe.
After hosting an open forum regarding the recent incidents, Providence College created a five-point plan to ensure students feel safe.
The plan includes the creation of a Safety and Security Task Force, which will compromise of students living both on and off campus, faculty, staff and members of the Providence Police Department.
The task force, according to the college, will ensure safety measures are consistently evaluated and improved.
In addition, a late-night shuttle service will be made available for all students traveling on campus and within the surrounding neighborhood. (Details on those shuttle routes and schedules are forthcoming.)
The college said the Fennel Gate, located on Eaton Street, will now be regularly staffed in the evening and throughout the early-morning hours by a public safety officer.
To make students living on campus feel at ease, each residence hall is being assigned a public safety officer that will serve as a liaison between the student residents, public safety department and residence hall directors.
Lastly, self-defense classes will be offered for students who wish to participate.
This comes as the Providence Police Department agreed to ramp up patrols in the neighborhoods surrounding the college, especially on the weekends.
The assaults don’t just involve Providence College students. Dean of Students Steven Sears previously told 12 News that only two of the reported incidents involved Providence College students, while the others involved students of other colleges and universities who live nearby.
Providence College senior Meghan McLaughlin attended Tuesday night’s meeting and said about an hour-and-a-half into it, she’d already had enough.
“They kept expressing it as a problem with communication rather than allowing us to share our grievances,” McLaughlin said.
“[My friends and I] have all gotten pepper spray and different alarms,” she continued. “Even in the last month, I’ve felt more unsafe than I have the last four years I’ve been here.”
McLaughlin described the five-point plan as “putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound,” adding that the new safety measures aren’t going to solve the problem.
She said she was hoping the Providence Police Department would do more than ramp up patrols in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“We are all a part of this community and we should be able to feel safe in that 500-foot walk to campus,” she said.
12 News reached out to the Providence Police Department for more information regarding their plans to patrol the neighborhoods surrounding the college but has yet to hear back.