University of Wisconsin students and community members learned about campus safety and how to prevent and act in dangerous situations
from a panel of city and campus officials at a meeting Monday night.
The panel included Madison Police Department officials, a city alderman and representatives of UW campus organizations addressed issues related to sexual assault, alcohol abuse and thefts in Madison.
Jessica Dattalo, a peer facilitator with Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, said
one of the biggest issues on campus is sexual assault and getting consent.
Sam Rosenbloom, a student facilitator and Bradley Residence Hall resident, said a recent rape of an Ohio high school student and posts on UW-Madison Confessions Facebook page, where
users can post confessions anonymously, have contributed to the community’s avoidance in
addressing sexual assault.
“It’s really important that we address the issue,” she said.
Rosenbloom said she wanted to know whether providing lighting on Lakeshore Path and
adding emergency lights on campus would assist in assault interference.
While it could be of some help, Dattalo said, acquaintances perpetrate about 70 to 90 percent of sexual assaults. She said social change would be more helpful in preventing
acquaintance rape, such as teaching people what consent is and how to ask. She said victims should not be blamed when a crime happens to them.
“It’s never the victim’s fault that someone decides to perpetrate against them,” she said.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, added that Lakeshore Path does not have lights because it
is a nature conservatory. It has been almost a decade since any type of sexual assault has
occurred there, he said, although he said he does not recommend walking on the path at night.
Panelists said to always stay in groups when out and stay on streets such as State Street at
night rather than ones like Langdon Street.
Thirty percent of sexual assaults are reported to campus police, which is a small number,
The police department is partnered with the Rape Crisis Center, which can provide longer-term support, MPD Lt. Kelly Donahue said, adding it is important
to report and tell others of being sexually assaulted.
Dattalo said University Health Services also provides rape crisis counseling.
The panel also addressed other issues on campus like alcohol consumption and burglaries.
Resnick said low-level events often have the potential to escalate to something
greater, particularly house parties, that are not reported when they should be. This can
lead to dangerous situations, he said.
“[For the] City of Madison Police Department, the number one priority is to help out
the victims,” Resnick said. “And even if someone is under the influence, that shouldn’t
mean they shouldn’t report a serious crime that’s going on.”
He also said burglaries and robberies happen everywhere, including to those walking between dorms and during the daytime.
He said he recommended not walking with a phone or with any other valuable belonging exposed. In
addition, he said it is important to lock doors, especially living on the ground floor of a
Every year, thefts have been especially prevalent on Spring Street and Regent Street, he said,
and residents can change locks if reported to the city inspector or landlord.
Donahue said she recommends stopping mail over breaks because piled-up mailboxes
are a giveaway that the apartment is unoccupied.
She and other panelists encouraged calling the police non-emergency line when anything
seems suspicious. She said the number is 608-255-2345.
“If something doesn’t feel right, it’s because something isn’t right,” Donahue said. “And
we have to listen to our intuition.”