Students and especially parents tend to feel better about a college that’s listed among the safest college campuses in the state. But what does that mean?
Eastern Nazarene College has been rated one of the top 15 safest colleges in Massachusetts for 2021. That’s based on a number of factors that contribute to a sense of safety on campus.
Take a closer look at what goes into the data to discover more about campus safety ratings.
How Niche Ranks the Safest College Campuses
The U.S. Department of Education routinely collects campus crime data. Education market analysis firm Niche collects this data, then adds local crime data and a composite of student surveys to determine the overall ranking.
In summary, these are the characteristics that make a campus safe.
The most weight (50%) is given to incidences of various types of on-campus crime, alcohol-related and drug-related arrests.
Campuses that score highly in the safety ranking are fairly peaceful campuses with very low crime numbers reported per 1,000 students.
Safe Local Community
A quarter of the weight (25%) is given to local crime statistics. Schools have no control over this, of course, but it makes sense to consider how safe students are likely to be when they step off campus.
The sources Niche uses include FBI crime reports, Centers for Disease Control reports on death and injury related to drugs, alcohol or firearms, and Niche user reports.
Again, you don’t see much of this in communities surrounding high-scoring campuses.
“ENC is a fun place to be. Don’t be afraid to go out, meet new people, and have fun!” – Ozzy Traill III, Men’s Basketball, Class of 2022
Finally, a full quarter of weight (25%) is given entirely to the safety scores given by students on a scale of 1 to 5.
It would be next to impossible to score highly overall without a good report from the majority of students on campus.
What Else Do the Safest College Campuses Have in Common?
To better understand what makes a school feel safe, it helps to go beyond statistics to think about what goes hand-in-hand with a sense of safety.
Low Student-Faculty Ratio
The safest colleges tend to be smaller, or at least have smaller class sizes. ENC’s student-faculty ratio is among the lowest, at 12:1.
Why It Matters
Students feel safer when they are seen in the classroom, known on campus and believe their needs will be taken into account.
In more intimate settings, you feel like people will notice if something’s off with you. They’re more likely to check in and offer to help.
Having greater access to trusted faculty contributes as much to your safety as it does your academic wellbeing.
Students are safest at schools that are committed to high accountability standards and follow through on them, where the school demonstrates a willingness to listen to student concerns and take action.
Why It Matters
While your relationships with faculty and staff are related to your everyday sense of safety and wellbeing, it’s just as important to know that the administration has your best interests in mind.
Schools that rank highly tend to be smaller. They feel like families in which everyone at the highest levels of leadership – the college president, academic deans, and especially campus safety director – is attentive to student safety concerns.
It helps to have an active student government like we have at ENC, where students are represented, and there is a process in place for you to bring up concerns and drive positive change.
Students can only feel safe if they believe they are an accepted and valued part of campus life. Schools with a high safety rating tend to be those who celebrate and promote the value of diversity.
Why It Matters
Schools that value diversity are committed to understanding diverse concerns and needs. Their leadership is aware that the perception of safety may be different between different groups, and that everyone must be made to feel safe.
Campus communities in which people strive to understand one another and address everyone’s unique needs – not those in which everyone is expected to be the same as everyone else – are the ones that feel the safest.
This has always been an important part of campus safety. The importance of good public health policy on campus is even clearer now, ever since campuses like ours were first introduced to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Why It Matters
Like every other college on the top 15 safest college campuses list, ENC had to quickly figure out how to adapt to the reality of a global pandemic in spring 2020.
But what we all had to do – from moving to online classes and suspending events to instituting COVID-19 testing policies and other measures – isn’t what makes students feel safe.
It’s how we do it. Students feel safest on campuses where there is a lot of clear communication about what’s happening now, what they need to do, and what’s happening next during a crisis.
Again, smaller campuses like ours are the ones that tend to get the highest marks for maintaining contact and keeping the campus family safe.
In itself, being faith-based doesn’t automatically make a campus safer. But many of the colleges on the list of the top 15 safest college campuses in Massachusetts are faith-based institutions. Being a Christian college seems to be related to our students’ sense of safety.
Why It Matters
This connection between faith and safety could happen for many reasons.
- The focus on Christian values like service to others and care for neighbors contributes to a culture of safety and security.
- Christian concepts of community, the idea of being one body in which each part is safe only if all parts are safe, guides decisions that benefit everyone.
- Our belief in a loving God who cares for us on an individual level is a constant comfort and guiding force in our daily lives on campus.
Whatever the reasons, it makes sense to us that faith-based communities should be safe. Wherever you are known, loved and respected as an image-bearer of our Creator should be among the safest places you could ever be.
Visit One of the Safest College Campuses in Massachusetts
Eastern Nazarene College is proud to have reached the top 15 list, but that doesn’t mean we’re content to stay here. We strive to do all we can to make our students feel safe.
That means continuing to get to know our students personally, maintaining strong policies and procedures to address their needs, and being willing to adopt new practices to improve safety and security at ENC.
It means maintaining a close partnership with the community of Quincy, MA, doing all we can to support this wonderful suburb of Boston we call home.
We’ll be delighted when doing so moves us into the top 10, the top five or even to number one. But our top concern is never about numbers. It’s always about the wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff.
Learn more about campus safety and academic opportunities you’ll ENCounter at Eastern Nazarene College. Contact us today!