The Red Zone is a concept known by very few, but is a big part of campus life. The vast majority of first year students live on campus and get to experience residence life at Mt. A. Many upper years stick around in residence too. It is safe to say, living in residence is a major element of the on-campus culture at Mt. A. As fun as it is, and as much as life in residence is romanticized, there are risks. Namely, the horrifying and immensely dreaded subject: the Red Zone.
The Red Zone is not talked about often enough. The Red Zone is a phenomenon during the first eight weeks of the school year where sexual violence is at an all time high. Rape culture is a big issue on its own when sexual harassment and sexual violence are normalized, but this additional danger zone can make it much worse. The majority of incidents include spiked drinks, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. This can make campus life really terrifying, especially for first-year students adjusting to university life. Students may feel threatened and scared to go out, but there can be preventative measures in place, so everyone can be safe during their first eight weeks.
The existence of the Red Zone can make living on campus difficult. Worrying about yourself and your friends can make it suffocating. This definitely will impact the culture on-campus. That is why we have support in place here at Mt. A to try and prevent sexual violence, and support survivors.
To make your campus experience safer for the next couple weeks, here are some tips from an upper year. First, always use the buddy system. Safety in numbers is a real thing that can be quite underrated. If you are going out, always tell a trusted person where you will be going and when. It is also a great idea to get someone to pick you up if you are participating in drinking, to make sure you get home safe. If you are participating in any drinking, do not leave drinks unattended. If you suspect that something is wrong with your drink, get rid of it. If you suspect that you or someone else has been drugged, call for help. On campus there are yellow emergency phones in the following locations: the main entrance of the Library, the side of the Dunn Building, and the back entrance of the Athletic Center. These phones immediately call campus security when you pick up. Finally, if you or someone you know has experienced any form of sexual violence, you can reach out to Jade Lister, Mt. A’s Sexualized Violence Response Consultant at [email protected] or use the REES online sexual violence reporting tool. Coming forward can be a scary thing, but can help you and others around you by helping raise awareness or just helping ease your own conscience.
Many believe that the Red Zone only affects first year students, but that is not true. Everyone is at risk during those weeks, so safety should be your first priority. Although it can be quite scary, when treated seriously, residence life can be a blast! Part of ensuring our on-campus culture remains positive is working together to avoid these issues if they occur. If you are going out in these eight weeks to parties or other drinking events, remember to stay safe, travel in groups and speak up. Your voice is valid and valued.
Correction: Mt. A’s current Sexual Violence Response Consultant is Jade Lister. A previous version of this article listed Tasia Alexopoulos.