Officials on college campuses around the state are reminding students about precautions they should take to avoid becoming the victim of an assault. University of Iowa Police Officer Alton Poole advises students to travel in packs. “When you have more people around, you increase the likelihood that you can stay safe,” Poole says.

The first assault of this school year near the UI campus occurred at 2:45 a.m. on August 25. A woman reported being knocked to the ground by a male attacker on a sidewalk. The woman escaped with minor injuries, according to a press release.

Poole says the incident should serve as a reminder that there are safety measures offered at the university, including NiteRide. “NiteRide is a service for women only, it’s free, and it operates seven days a week,” Poole says.

“They can contact our website to get information about times, pickups, and boundaries.” The University of Iowa Student Government also offers a free taxi cab service for students called SafeRide.

Poole says students can avoid putting themselves in an unsafe situation by staying away from alcohol or at least drinking responsibly. “You’ve heard of people drugging other people’s drinks, so don’t leave your drink unattended and watch how much you consume,” Poole says. “If you plan on drinking, have a person with you who agrees to be sober.”

In addition to the NiteRide and SafeRide programs, the University of Iowa has “blue emergency alert stations” scattered around campus.