Last week three students were victims of an attempted aggravated robbery occurring near the UniSA Mawson Lakes campus, leaving other students to fear for their own safety. (Image source: UniSA Security via UniSA website)

By Crissalen Jumamoy | @Crissalen_

Concerned students and their families are raising questions around student safety on campus following an attempted aggravated robbery occurring on September 7, just after 7pm outside Mawson Lakes campus.

The incident involved two men who held three UniSA students at gunpoint demanding cash.

After the suspects fled from Mawson Lakes emptyhanded, the students reported the incident to UniSA campus security. It led to the police being contacted and a major search.

Four hours later, South Australia Police, with the support of STAR operations and two police dogs, tracked the suspects to Elizabeth South and charged them with attempted aggravated robbery. The situation is still being investigated and the students involved have been offered counselling by UniSA’s student support services.

The attempted robbery occurred as the students were walking down University Boulevard, Mawson Lakes. While this was outside the University’s grounds, students say more needs to be done to ensure student safety on and around campus.

President of UniSA’s Student Association (USASA) Noah Beckmann says the situation is concerning.

“We believe that everyone should be safe to study on campus, they shouldn’t have to fear that something like this could happen,” Noah says.

“They [security] usually do proactive steps but this is obviously a much more severe incident, so therefore I think it deserves more of a bigger response than previous security incidents,” Noah says.

The incident has left students feeling anxious about coming back to campus in fear for their own safety.

Maria, a third-year student who attends classes at Mawson Lakes campus, says she understands the hesitation.

“I’ve heard many students have had parents call the university with complaints about the situation,” Maria says.

“A lot of us still have to attend because it’s our education but I understand why people wouldn’t.”

Countless people study in the campus library during after-hours until it closes at 11pm. Two people that were in the facility when the attempted robbery occurred are concerned of the lack of communication given.

“We understand that it wasn’t [directly] on campus, but it was still right outside, and Mawson Lakes students were involved,” one student says.

“We should have been told the night it happened so we can be more wary when exiting the premises, not the next day on social media,” the other says.

The view of UniSA Mawson Lakes campus from the library entry. (Image source: Crissalen Jumamoy)

USASA have assured students that they are having discussions with facilities to expand campus security for students to feel safe being on campus.

The University has sent out emails and priority announcements online with advice in regards of the safety available at every campus. However, no announcement has been made specifying the steps Mawson Lakes campus will take to further prevent events like this from happening.

Campus facilities manager Justin Faggotter says security staff remain vigilant but assured in their safety practices.

“We are confident that our current resourcing and systems implemented in support of our security is adequate for our risk profile, however we are continually assessing to ensure safety across all campuses,” he says.

“We have established relationships with emergency services and other government and professional organisations which we communicate with in relation to security operations.”

The UniSA security have standardised protocols for their security officers that are applicable to all campuses. They also follow the procedures contained within the University’s Emergency Response framework.

Campus safety initiatives available at every UniSA campus include:

Campus Security: Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with security officers patrolling the campuses all day. They can also provide with first aid or help in an emergency.

UniSafe escorts: Security encourages when being on campus during after-hours to ask the security team to escort you from the campus location. The locations they can escort you to are on-campus car parks, designated public transport locations and approved student accommodation.

SafeZone app: A free app is available for UniSA students on both the Apple Store and Google Play called “SafeZone” to connect you directly to the security team. You can find more information about the app here.

Example of security phone available at various locations at each campus (Image source: Crissalen Jumamoy)

Security phones: In all campuses, there are several locations that have emergency wall phones to directly contact security staff.  They can be found with a sign saying “Security Phone” in the University’s dark blue colour.

University of South Australia has also provided personal safety tips on its website here.

To find out more about University of South Australia’s security and the number for each campus, click here.