Washington University officials are pushing back against a conservative blog that says the school is now handing out 'rape whistles' after a pair of recent off-campus incidents.
Steve Givens, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs at Washington University said the school notified off-campus residents of a pair of incidents, a burglary in the 7300 block of Forsyth on January 21 and a robbery at Rosedale and Waterman January 24.
Givens said the school has offered safety whistles for roughly 15 years. The whistle is known as "The Defender," and according to materials handed out by the school, "can signal your need for help, frighten away someone who means harm to you, or alert others to call the police. The whistle is safe, non-violent, and, when carried on a key-chain, cannot be used as a weapon against you."
Givens said the school has expanded the use of closed-circuit television in off-campus neighborhoods, and has worked to improve lighting in areas surrounding the campus, among other security measures.
A blog on CampusReform.org quoted a spokesman for Students For Concealed Carry who was critical of the whistles and instead called for the school to repeal a ban on firearms on campus.
Givens said the whistles are only a piece of the security puzzle, which he said also includes close cooperation between University Police and nearby jurisdictions, security patrols in neighborhoods near the school, and extended use of blue-light phones off campus.