Self-defense classes are needed at UNH

The Beckerman Recreation Center holds weekly group classes for its students known as GroupX classes. These classes consist of different forms of exercise such as pilates, yoga and zumba. GroupX classes help keep students active so why not create one for self-defense lessons?

Self-defense classes should be free or folded into tuition. Having these lessons would help students develop defensive tactics and help give them the confidence to use them if necessary.

Despite having West Haven police officers and security guards patrolling campus, there is still a risk of harm. According to the university’s 2022 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, in 2021 there were eight cases of rape, one robbery, two burglaries and one motor vehicle theft on campus.

Some of these incidents are harder to prevent than others and having sexual crime cases nearing double digits is discouraging. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), an anti-sexual assault organization, “more than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November.” said Jeremy Bauer-Wolf’s article “Avoiding the Red Zone,” The rate of sexual assault is at a high at the beginning of the fall semester, and those four months are called “The Red Zone.”

Self-defense classes could add an extra layer of protection during the Red Zone.

Of course, self-defense classes cost money, and there is no guarantee that students will sign up. The university would need to find a qualified instructor, find open times in the Rec Center and make sure enough students sign up. But these classes could lessen the risk for violent crimes at the university.

TheUniversity of Connecticut already offers self-defense lessons which are free to students and held every Thursday. The classes are a collaboration between the University of Connecticut Police, Off-Campus Student Services, Residential Life, the Department of Allied Health Services and the Hawley Armory.

UConn’s website says the 12-hour course is usually taught in three to four hour blocks, and students learn different defense techniques.

Self-defense isn’t necessarily a natural skill. It’s something you must learn, and it does not come quickly. Having multiple classes is essential for students to pick up and understand whatever they are learning.

If the university administration devotes resources to self-defense classes, those classes should be offered without a hitch.