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To want to quit my college course because I feel unsafe?

(72 Posts)
TiredAndAnnoyed Mon 18-Nov-13 21:27:31

I'm a regular who has name changed for this.

I started college in September to do a HE access course. The college has bought a new building for this year which is about a 15 minute walk away from the main campus and it's where us mature students have to go to for all our lessons. This wouldn't be a problem except the building is in quite a rough area. There have been numerous muggings and attacks reported in the area just outside and near the college. There are also drunks and druggies who sit just outside the college and intimidate a lot of people.

Those things on their own are an annoyance in themselves but it still wouldn't be too bad as they're outside the college...except the security in this new building is utter shit! They have only one security guard who mostly sits there looking bored most of the time and although they have a member of staff by the entrance who is supposed to check student ID before you enter, they seldom ever do check and usually just let anyone walk straight in! As a result, some of the drunks and druggies who loiter outside have been known to just come in and loiter around the corridors outside the classrooms. As you can imagine this does make people feel uneasy. Like I said, it's in a well known rough area already yet they just let anyone walk in. God knows who else could just wonder in.

There was an incident about a month ago where I was leaving the building and there was a man who was swearing his head off at everyone who walked past, he was very aggressive and intimidating people who walked past. The security guard was standing there of course, not really doing anything to get him off the premises, he was just looking bored as usual hmm

The thing is though, the main campus isn't exactly in a nice area but it is a lot safer than where we are. There are also numerous security guards down there so I don't understand why they couldn't have put us in a building on the main campus. There's not exactly a shortage of them. Some people on my course have decided to put in official complaints about it as it's not fair that we don't feel safe coming to college. Tbh I feel really unsafe where we are now and am seriously considering dropping out and going to a different college next year instead. I keep telling myself it's only for a year but I really don't feel safe especially now the dark nights are here. I'm going to put in a complaint too but not sure how much difference it will actually make.

I should also add that there used to be a children's support service next door (I think that's what it was) but it closed down because the area was deemed to be too unsafe. So they put us here with barely any security instead hmm.

There are also little things that are irritating about this building such as the heating doesn't always work properly so it's often freezing cold and as it's a new purchase by the college there is still a bit of building work going on. Those are minor things compared to the safety issue though.

Would you stick around in this sort of situation? I was looking forward to college this year and going to university next year but now I just feel completely uneasy and just not safe so not sure if it's worth sticking it out.

This turned out quite long and I realise that my description would make it obvious which college I'm talking about if you're a student there but whatever.

Is it too much to ask to want to feel safe in a learning environment?

CoffeeTea103 Mon 18-Nov-13 21:32:02

Yanbu, your safety trumps everything.

Unexpected Mon 18-Nov-13 21:39:53

Have you made your concerns known to the college authorities? Have you complained when people have been allowed access who should not be there? YABU if you quit without giving the college a chance to put things right.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 18-Nov-13 21:41:38

OP YANBU but don't drop out. Mobilise people on your course to make a concerted complaint and I bet you can get things changed! Is it worth giving up on your dream for this?

TiredAndAnnoyed Mon 18-Nov-13 21:59:47

Unexpected, it's been brought up several times before but nothing has been done about it. Maybe things will change now that people are actually putting official complaints in writing in?

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 18-Nov-13 22:04:53

Do you have a Class Rep OP? I think it would be good if you put in one letter and all signed it. Also look at putting a petition up in reception or in the canteen.

MooncupGoddess Mon 18-Nov-13 22:08:30

Is there a student rep on the governing body you could speak to?

Could you talk to the other students on your course and arrange to walk to and from the building in groups so you feel less nervous?

ArbitraryUsername Mon 18-Nov-13 22:11:04

It's strange that the college aren't doing anything to tighten up security. They must be losing a lot of equipment to drug addicts looking for something to sell.

WilsonFrickett Mon 18-Nov-13 22:13:22

Go and speak to your year or course rep and your students' union, who are normally red-hot on student safety. I'd try and make things better before dropping out tbh.

blueemerald Mon 18-Nov-13 22:15:44

I would complain and if you feel directly threatened again call the police. The authorities won't love the cops turning up on their campus on a regular/semi regular basis and will probably do something about it.

VenusDeWillendorf Mon 18-Nov-13 22:17:24

Don't drop out, but DO something!

See the provost, or Dean and tell them about the problems- chances are they haven't an clue.

Phone the police if you think the security guy is dossing off and you want someone there to chuck them out!

Organise a security squad of students to escort the others in a group. Safety in numbers.

Get proactive!

ImperialBlether Mon 18-Nov-13 22:44:48

There are two things a college is frightened of. One is a bad reputation, so if something happened and it was in the papers, they would be more worried about that than they would be about the person who was attacked. The second is the loss of funds. If you leave now, they will lose about £5000 if you are a full time student (more than 16 hours.) In my college this would cause massive trouble and all of the managers would be held responsible for it.

So, make an appointment with the Principal. Make sure there are a few of you. Say that you intend to leave and go to the nearby college unless something is done within a couple of weeks. Say once you're at the nearby college, you will tell the press. Say that they are putting you at risk and that you are there to study, not to worry and to defend yourselves.

Keep the meeting short. Tell him/her what will happen, then leave the office. You should get a good resolution.

TiredAndAnnoyed Mon 18-Nov-13 22:48:19

One is a bad reputation, so if something happened and it was in the papers, they would be more worried about that than they would be about the person who was attacked.

shock well that's just crap.

WooWooOwl Mon 18-Nov-13 22:52:12

I agree with Venus. This is a reason to complain, and make a change, not drop out! The only way you'll ever get out of places like that is by through education, don't throw it away!

Are you at college during the day or on an evening course?

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 18-Nov-13 22:56:49

You've joined the people putting complaints in though, haven't you?

Beavie Mon 18-Nov-13 23:00:05

Have you got a designated safety person at your college? I am doing an access course too and at the start we had a big talk in the lecture theatre from all kinds of people including the person who was in charge of making sure students felt safe in college. I think he must be fucking bored at my college but maybe you have something similar?

TiredAndAnnoyed Mon 18-Nov-13 23:10:33

Yes I have now put my complaints in.

I don't think we have a safety person neither, or at least we haven't been shown who he/she is if we do have one.

I should mention that we've brought this up with the class rep who has brought it up in meetings. Nothing has changed yet though. Like I said though that might change when people complain via official channels.

TiredAndAnnoyed Mon 18-Nov-13 23:11:32

It's a day course so luckily other than our one late finish we don't have to walk there when it's too dark.

ImperialBlether Mon 18-Nov-13 23:41:28

It's crap, but it's true.

Believe me, these places are brutal now.

Tulip26 Mon 18-Nov-13 23:58:06

Your safety is paramount. You could ruin your career and you whole life if you get attacked and are too scared to go back. I hope you and your classmates move in groups, not alone?

You said it's a one-day course, any chance of distance learning like OU or transferring to another college?

howmuchwouldyoutake Tue 19-Nov-13 00:10:02

Does the college name begin with N? If so i feel your pain. Complain to the head of security, the course leader and the director of school in the same email

TiredAndAnnoyed Tue 19-Nov-13 11:45:36

Yes it's name does begin with N. Do you go there too?

EduCated Tue 19-Nov-13 11:56:47

Does the college have a students union you could get inside as well?

TiredAndAnnoyed Tue 19-Nov-13 12:02:10

I should also add that if I quit I would most likely do the same course next year at another college. The other college is further away and a bit more awkward to get to for me than this one but at least it's nicer and safer. Also at that college you're allowed to pick your own combination of subjects I think whereas here you have to do set subjects (two of which I have no interest in and one of them I'm worried that I'm going to fail because I find it difficult). Then again it would put the whole process back a year and I would have to find something else to do this year to fill the time. I do have a job but they're not giving anyone full time hours at the moment. Ahh, what to do, what to do...

I've also had to move back in with my parents to start the course as I wouldn't be able to afford living on my own with the hours I work I do now and no dole. I'm concerned about what they would think and they'd think I was wasting time.

We're only in college three days a week and only one of those has a slightly later finish where it will be getting dark and everyone tends to walk in groups anyways, but still...

The fact I'm not the only one who feels this way speaks volumes.

TiredAndAnnoyed Tue 19-Nov-13 12:08:09

I forgot to mention that I didn't actually know the area well before I started and when I told my dad where the new building was he was shocked and thought I was joking. He then said he would have to give me pepper spray and some self defence lessons if I had to go there. I didn't think he was entirely serious and thought it couldn't be that bad, but now I see what he means.

We have a students union but am not sure how I go about contacting them. Nobody's ever told us anything confused That's another thing we have a problem with - a lot of people feel like they've been cut off from the rest of the college. We've barely been told anything.

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