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4 Small Colleges with Big Safety Initiatives

Written by | Updated May 28, 2014

Not only do these colleges boast high academic recognition, but their campuses are so safe that locking doors and using electronic security passes aren’t common practices. It might help that these colleges all hold students to strict honor codes and are nestled in historic, pastoral settings echoing times gone by. Whatever their secret is, these private colleges know how to maintain peace and order.

1. Bennington College

Colleges keeping students safe in the US

Image: Jared C. Benedict; CC 2.0

This liberal arts college situated on an historical, picturesque campus in Vermont may be small – total enrollment is just under 800 – but that doesn’t keep Bennington College from making a big impact in the worlds of academia and the arts. This vanguard institution of higher learning has been recognized by everyone from “The Princeton Review” to “Architectural Digest” and has been called one of the America’s top 10 brainiest colleges by “Unigo.”

Bennington focuses on the fine arts and emphasizes real-world experience by requiring all students to spend one term each year at work in the world. The intimate college setting allows for a very safe campus, where students tend to leave doors unlocked and experience the freedom of feeling secure. The Office of Campus Safety looks out for the welfare of Bennington students, staff and faculty. Personal responsibility is emphasized in the college’s mission to create an “environment free from hate speech, physical violence, harassment, vandalism, and theft.” And it works; Bennington has reported only one crime on campus in their past three reporting years.

2. Davidson College

Safe colleges in the US

While some students can’t get enough of Davidson College’s top-notch basketball team or the free laundry service provided on campus, others love Davidson for the sense of safety instilled on campus thanks to a rigorous honor code and diligent office of public safety. In fact, Davidson reported just eight crimes on campus for the whole of 2012.

In addition to enjoying a virtually crime-free campus, Davidson students also benefit from a student to faculty ratio of 10:1. The personal quality of a Davidson education has helped this private liberal arts college gain consistent recognition as one of the best colleges in the country by “U.S. News & World Report,” “Newsweek” and “Forbes.”

3. Haverford College

Safe Colleges in the USImage: Jackbauerinvc; CC 3.0

Situated on 200 acres of award-winning landscaping and architecture, Haverford College offers a close-knit campus environment where students feel relaxed and free to meet the challenges of academia without worrying over threats to personal safety. Influenced by the values of the Quakers, Haverford maintains high expectations for student behavior on campus, which helps the department of campus safety maintain peace and order on the lush campus.

On their latest crime statistics report, Haverford shows no murders, robberies or assaults in 2012, which is great news for the 1,200 undergraduates who are currently pursuing their academic dreams at Haverford. The peace of mind seems to make an impact, as Haverford boasts 41 Fulbright Scholar Program Fellows, 20 Rhodes Scholars, three Nobel Prize winners and six recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.

4. Kenyon College

Safe colleges in the USImage: Austin Godber; CC 2.0

Tucked away on a rural hilltop in Gambier, Ohio, Kenyon College is so safe and sound that until recently most campus buildings didn’t even have locks. The 1,000 acre campus features a nature preserve and plenty of history as the oldest private college in the state. Listed among the country’s “hidden Ivies,” Kenyon students enjoy an intimate college experience rich in traditions like the First-Year Sing, which has been held on campus for the past 180 years.

With only 1,600 students, Kenyon has the resources to ensure crime doesn’t interfere with anyone’s college experience. Campus Safety is charged with the protection of the students, staff and faculty and they do a fine job, keeping criminal incidents on campus to fewer than 20 in their most recent reporting year. From security patrols to emergency response, Kenyon officers are always at the ready to make sure nothing disturbs the serenity of their campus.

What other safety advantages are there at a smaller college?

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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