Students ask: how safe are we really?

A recent survey on campus security at Stellenbosch University showed that students are very concerned about their safety.

The survey looked at what type of transport students use and how well they know the Green Route.

It also identified dangerous areas and mapped them, and looked into how many students asked Campus Security to escort them home at night. About one hundred students took part in the survey.


Sign marking Stellenbosch’s Green Route. PHOTOGRAPH: FRANCO HAVENGA

Green Route
More than half of the students interviewed did not know exactly which streets were part of the Green Route. More than a quarter of the students thought that Merriman Avenue was part of the Green Route. This could be due to several changes made to this route and different versions of campus maps made available online. 

At night
Several students who thought the Green Route was safe, changed their minds when they had to walk at night. Although most students still walk at night, many started using Uber as an alternative mode of transport.

Walking escorts
Only one male student said that he had called campus security to walk with him to his residence at night. Other male students said that because they “are male, they do not need it”. Some female students also mentioned that they were “hit on” by members of Campus Security who walked with them.

Some students said that they prefer to use shortcuts that deviate from the Green Route to get home faster. This is also a potential problem for Campus Security since they would not know where students are and are unable to protect them. – Franco Havenga and Tembisa Mguzulo