Student Perceptions of Safety on the Campus of a Southern Historically Black University

Kelle Neal, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to determine students’ perceptions of on campus safety and their awareness of administrative policies regarding safety. Specifically, this study assessed students’ perceptions of safety when considering sexual assault, assault, robbery, and burglary. Following a fatal shooting that occurred on campus in the Fall semester of 2015, the President of Winchester implemented a more aggressive and detailed safety protocol specifically aimed at decreasing violence on campus, prompting the need for this study. In order to assess student perception of safety and awareness of existing safety measures for campus crime and violence, a survey was created by combining themes from the current literature on Campus Crime and Safety. The survey was delivered via Qualtrics to a conveniently sampled population of undergraduate students enrolled in the 2016–2017 academic year. The data was analyzed using a Pearson Chi-Square to determine if statistically significant differences existed in perception of safety and awareness of safety measures based on three demographic groups: gender, student residence status (on or off campus residence), and classification. There were several key findings from this study: there was no difference in perception of safety based on gender, which departed from the literature on crime and safety that asserts that fear of crime is gendered. Sexual assault was the only crime for which there were statistically significant differences among all of the demographic groups surveyed. Student perception of whether the neighborhood surrounding the campus is dangerous widely varied between on and off campus residents and across classifications. Recommendations for practice are that the university administration continues presenting campus safety material in UNIV 1000, improves the perimeter and rear access points on campus to prevent future incidences of unchecked access to campus, and focuses its implementation of safety policy on risk management.

Subject Area

Black studies|Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership|Education Policy|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Kelle Neal, "Student Perceptions of Safety on the Campus of a Southern Historically Black University" (2018). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10830797.