N.C. Central University Police and Public Safety Department is holding a Rape Aggression Defense, or R.A.D., training class today.
The class is a self-defense course designed to help female students defend against would-be attackers.
Moreover, the course involves exercises that enhance self-awareness, and personal safety while on the go and at home.
Dyshay Washington, NCCU’s Clery Act Compliance Coordinator overseeing the program, said that R.A.D. is necessary for female college students.
“When I got the job at NCCU, there wasn’t an existing R.A.D. program,” she said. “I wanted to offer our staff and students some type of techniques they can use to keep themselves safe.”
The class is another example of how NCCU Police has used awareness and friendliness to connect with campus students.
“It would definitely help,” said Lady X, a theater senior, after learning about the course. “And I think it would help the relationship between the campus and the campus police.”
“I’m really happy that they’re doing that,” said Jonma McLean, criminal justice junior. “They’re teaching everyone these ways to defend yourself against a potential attacker.”
NCCU Chief of Police, Damon Williams, said he wants students to take “advantage of the full program.”
“We like to kick it off early in the semester so students can have that knowledge while they’re here,” he said. Washington agreed, adding that she would like to offer R.A.D. courses every semester.
“The ultimate goal is for them to survive to see another day,” she said.
In addition to R.A.D., Williams says he’s always pushing his officers to connect with the students.
“We embed ourselves here with the student population,” Williams said.
“I’ll go sit at a random table, don’t know anyone at the table, and just start talking. That’s how you build relationships.”
Ah’Breanna Smith, a biology freshman, appreciates Williams’ emphasis on connecting with students.
“Me and Chief are mad cool,” she said. “He sat down with us one night and literally talked with us for an hour after he got off.”
Williams said interacting with the students, along with programs like R.A.D., can help remove campus police from the stigma that is attached to many police forces in American society because of highly visible instances of police brutality and shootings.
“It’s hard to hate somebody you have a relationship with because you inherently want to help people you know and that you built a relationship with,” he said.