The American Correctional Association hosted a self-defense class to prepare students for possible danger and to spread awareness of increased crime on campus and within the St. Joseph area. The class was held on Tuesday, Nov. 15 in the Looney Complex.
Fifteen year veteran of the St. Joseph Department of Corrections Elizabeth Boone, who taught the course, explains how important self defense is, due to the growing crime rate in St. Joseph and on campus.
“I’ve seen St. Joe change so much within the last ten years,” Boone said. “I’ve seen more violence. Just in the last year, we’ve seen more shootings. We’ve seen more assaults. Even on campus, we had two rapes last year. That is two too many.”
Boone, who has been teaching self-defense for 14 years and has taught thousands of men and women defensive techniques, feels that this class should be especially beneficial for female students.
“When they’re attacked it takes a lot of control from a female,” Boone said. “Women are seen generally as the weaker sex, and for the most part we are. But I think that this empowers them. They need to be empowered because rape and assault is all about power and control. I think we need to gain power. I never want to see a female walking in fear.”
The class covered both floor fighting and breakaway techniques, which help divert an attacker. ACA President and Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement major Clarissa Cudworth, who has worked with Boone in past events, felt that the class would help students be more aware of their surroundings and more prepared for a possible attack.
“We feel like there has been a lot of trouble on our campus with theft and not being aware of your surroundings,” Cudworth said. “We know in past few semesters it has been a lot of issues regarding crime on campus. We want students on campus to be able to defend and protect themselves in any given situation.”
Cudworth also explains the main goal for the ACA is helping and informing students. Eventually, the organization wants to be able to visit prisons to spread knowledge and gain a different perspective.
“The majority of our members at one point in time have been national members,” Cudworth said. “We put on events like this to help people be aware of things. ACA is doing their best to get campus and students involved in wanting to protect themselves and others, and if crime comes about, do something about it.”
Amber Lampe, a student who decided to take the class, felt the class would definitely make her feel more comfortable on campus.
“I know Missouri Western is a pretty safe campus, but sometimes I still feel uncomfortable walking by myself at night, ”Lampe said. “I felt this would be a good opportunity.”
Boone hopes that students will take extra caution in protecting themselves, as today’s criminals are continuing to become more dangerous. “Since I work for the DOC I think the change and the type of inmates we get inside of the institution are just the worst,” Boone said. “They don’t care about life. They don’t care about property, except for their own.”