Near-campus violence has some students feeling unsafe

by Corbin Hollins

Students continue to use the covered sidewalk next to the old Public Safety Building despite Red River College Security Services recommending they choose a different path. / REIN CABALQUINTO

On Oct. 16, police responded to an aggravated assault­­­ at the intersection of King and William.  The victim was an instructor at Red River College’s Exchange District campus who was walking to Main Street to catch a bus after teaching a night class.

The assault took place less than a block from Red River College, bringing students and faculty closer to the violence of downtown.

Violent incidents like this one have caused security services at the Exchange District campus to earn media attention.

In early 2017, a student was stabbed on campus while looking at his phone.

In response to the event last month, administration sent an immediate email to all students, asking students to use the security and Safe Walk services provided to them, but despite communication from the college, Safe Walk resources still aren’t universally known by students.

Ember Veinot, 24, works for Red River College Exchange District Campus’s Safe Walk from Monday to Friday. / REIN CABALQUINTO

“I didn’t even know what [Safe Walk] was until the guy got stabbed,” said 20-year-old Business Administration student, Will Koltek.

Koltek, who drives to school, feels bad for the victim but is otherwise unbothered by the attack.

“I’m not really worried about security,” said Koltek. “I like to study here after hours and leaving here late at night isn’t something that worries me.  I just get in my car and leave.”

Students who drive to school can park in several lots that are a short walk from campus, but transit users walk three-blocks from campus and can be waiting alone at the bus stop, something Business Administration student Sara Scholefield, 21, feels less comfortable doing after the assault.

“It’s hard to feel safe when you’re walking to school and there’s bloodstains on the ground,” said Scholefield.

Blood remained on the sidewalk for two-weeks after the assault.

According to their website, the Exchange District campus Safe Walk consists of trained security guards accompanying students to wherever they’re going – their car, or the bus stop as long as it’s relatively close to the school.

In response to last month’s attack, they’ve also added a foot patrol in the Exchange District that operates until midnight every weeknight. Basic security services are also available at the college 24/7, year-round.

According to Red River’s website, you can call Safe Walk and security from 19 different locations at the Exchange District campus.  The number for the Roblin Centre’s Safe Walk Patrol is 204-632-2555.