UT Students Taking PrecaUTions

Knoxville (WVLT) - From theft to rape to driving under the influence, crime happens in our communities and on our college campuses.

Today was the first Taking PrecaUTions day held at UT, to promote a safe and healthy campus environment.

Medical reporter Jessa Goddard is covering East Tennessee health with some lessons UT students learned today outside the classroom.

Hundreds of UT students walking to and from class got an impromptu lesson in safety today.

From rape aggression defense.

"Now, we're going to bring it down a little bit so you can see the nose. Good!"

To DUI goggle simulators and UT Alert, the University's new emergency text messaging system.

"I signed up for a rape aggressive defense course with my friends, and we're going to go down to the police department on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to get some moves."

Monica Harris says she doesn't want to be just another number, another nameless, faceless victim of crime.

But she is now one of about 8,100 students, faculty and staff who are now signed up for UT Alert, "If the University's ever in a compromising situation, such as shutdown for weather-related incidents or other critical incidents that can affect student safety, then we can provide instantaneous information."

UTPD Lieutenant Emily Simerly says statistics show crime on campus is typically higher in September than the rest of the year, "And they come onto a college setting, maybe for the first time, and again, maybe they're going to have to make changes that they have not had to make before, and sometimes people don't make the best choices for their safety."

Partly the reason, this is National Campus Safety month.

But UT student Sarah Peacock says campus safety isn't just a campus problem, "And I believe it's a really important issue to bring to the attention, of not only students, but also the community, because the community has as much of an effect on UT campus as the students do."

A lesson learned as a community and a nation works to prevent another tragedy like the one that occurred on the campus of Virginia Tech.

Sign up for UT Alert began this Summer with incoming freshman, during orientation.

It will allow up to 35,000 subscribers at an annual cost of $24,000.

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