University police and student leaders team up to raise awareness about relationship violence

University police and student leaders at UNL are teaming up to start a campus conversation.

Tuesday was the start of the first ever, “Cover the Cruiser,” event at UNL.

It involves students pledging to speak out and stand up against sexual and relationship violence.

Throughout the day on east campus, dozens of students stopped by to write a pledge.

They then stuck them on the UNL police cruiser.

“I wrote down that I’m going to be an active bystander because it’s really important to say something when you see something, the victim is not always comfortable standing up for themselves,” said Kaitlin Hunt, a freshman at UNL.

Millions of freshman like Hunt are on a college campus for the first time.

Hunt says it can be scary, especially for young women.

She’s glad to see UNL-PD and ASUN, the NU system’s student government, being pro-active to address this important topic.

“It’s a big problem all over the country on college campuses. I really think it’s great UNL is doing something about it,” said Hunt.

UNL-PD Chief Hassan Ramzah is pleased to be apart of this collaboration.

He says this is the first time an event like this has been put on at UNL.

“Certainly, prevention is the key, making sure that our students are aware this event offers the opportunity for students to pledge their support as a member of the campus community,” said Ramzah.

ASUN unanimously supported participation in the event after seeing a recent poll from the University of Michigan.

1 in 5 students in the poll said they had experienced dating violence by a current partner, a shocking statistic.

“How can we potentially make that statistic go down even lower is a huge plus of what we’re doing here today,” said Nicole Frerichs, Assistant Dean of Student Success on UNL’s east campus.

Event organizers say the study shows that universities need to do more to educate and support victims.

“I think it’s important to have that visual marker of being able to say that I’m going to step up if I see something, or for myself, having those resources, I hope that this cruiser is completely covered by the end of the day,” said Frerichs.

For those who missed out on making a pledge Tuesday.

The police cruiser will be on UNL’s city campus at the union fountain on Thursday and Friday this week from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm.

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