RRC implements new security measures

Courtney Bannatyne, BEAT REPORTER

Students at the Roblin Centre can expect increased security after two students were assaulted in the Exchange District in the past month.

Two weeks after a student was stabbed inside the Roblin Centre on Friday, Jan. 13 at 5:30 p.m., another RRC student was stabbed outside the Yellow Dog Tavern on Friday, Jan. 27, at 5:30 p.m.

Winnipeg police have arrested Jesse Neil Nedohin, 21, who is allegedly linked to multiple stabbings in the Exchange District.

According to Conor Lloyd, RRC’s communications officer, the college will put seven security cameras on campus. Four have already been installed.

The college has also increased foot patrols around campus, increased RRC security patrols, and is giving tips to staff and students to stay safe, Lloyd wrote in an email.

This includes advising students to put away their electronic devices and encouraging them to report any suspicious behaviour.

“We’re fortunate that very few incidents like this occur on campus,” Lloyd wrote. “We work to ensure that the best practices are used when it comes to protecting staff and students, and we reviewed our process immediately following the incident to identify if there was anything further we could be doing to strengthen the good policies and procedures we have in place.”

Lloyd stressed that asking students to keep their valuables out of sight is a matter of personal safety that the Winnipeg Police Service advised.

“That review resulted in immediate steps that were implemented to support those practices, and we’re continuing our work to see if any additional changes or additions can be made,” Lloyd wrote.

Marc Lapointe, an advanced graphic design student, said he doesn’t completely agree with asking students to hide their electronic devices.

“Regardless what area of the city the campus is in, I think you should be able to be on your phone, especially when you are in the building,” said Lapointe.

He noted that the college’s response puts the onus on potential victims.

“It might be a precaution, I guess, but I feel like at the same time it’s the same as telling girls not to dress provocatively to avoid being abused,” he said. “Obviously not the exact same, but kind of to that extent.”

Lapointe is not signed up for text message alerts or the mobile safety app the college provides. He said he never saw the emails the college sent to students about increased security, but he said he is slightly concerned for his safety. He admitted he might have deleted the email before reading it.

“It’s (the stabbings) not something I ever really worried about before,” said Lapointe. “And the fact that one of them happened actually in the school is a little bit concerning.”

Lapointe said he has noticed more patrols around the school.

“Oh yeah, definitely. There used to be cops downstairs like all the time, so I think that not being there, and these stabbings have happened, it’s not a coincidence.”

Brandon Cox, a business administration student, said he is happy with the college’s reaction to the assaults.

“I thought it was good seeing that they had some plans kind of outlined to make the school safer,” said Cox.

He said the measures the college took made sense to him.

“I don’t know what else the college could really do to avoid it happening again,” he said. “It seems like they’re doing everything in their power.”

He said he’s not sure if students will actually put their phones away at school, but he understands why the college advised to do so.

“It’s another thing they can say or do to make sure this doesn’t happen again, so I can see why they’re doing it.

“It was kind of acknowledging what happened and not shying away from the fact that people actually got stabbed,” Cox said. “I thought it was a pretty professional way to approach the whole situation.”

Lloyd also mentioned that the Winnipeg Police Service is offering personal safety seminars for staff and students. The next one is on Feb. 21, and more sessions will be available in the spring.