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MSU students talk safety on campus following Brendan Santo's disappearance

December 10, 2021
<p>Yakeley Hall photographed on Jan. 27, 2020. </p>

Yakeley Hall photographed on Jan. 27, 2020.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

In the wake of Grand Valley State University student Brendan Santo’s on-campus disappearance, some MSU students have renewed fears of safety in the campus area.

Interviewed near the Oakland County Sheriff Department’s recent search by the MSU main library, political theory and constitutional democracy junior Mahek Khangura discussed her feelings about campus safety.

“It’s definitely felt more unsafe, especially living off campus," Khangura said. "I don’t feel as safe as I did in the dorms and on-campus as I do now, so it’s scary. My parents feel scared too, but it’s just best to keep your location on and let your roommates and your friends know where you are at all times to feel safer.”

“I actually lived on campus last year,” secondary education and English sophomore Katy Anderson said. “I feel like it’s changed a lot in one year. I feel like there’s a lot more confusing stuff going on, and it just seems like every week there’s kinda something new going on.”

A combination of MSUPD, ELPD and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department has been participating in regular searches since Santo’s disappearance Halloween weekend, often in public spaces around the Red Cedar River.

“I don’t think the increased police presence has affected me, but just generally I feel like there’s been a lot of weird stuff on campus,” political theory and constitutional democracy junior Emma Frank said.

MSU students have also shown worry about sex trafficking claims, which were addressed by MSUPD earlier this semester.

One MSU student also recently reported being tracked by Apple's air tag, a product intended to be used for keeping track of the owner's objects.

“I live off-campus, so being physically on campus doesn’t make me feel unsafe, but walking home and as I leave campus, it is a little bit scary,” Frank said.

Frank said safety on campus has been a concern for her and her friends.

“We always make sure someone’s walking home with someone else — especially I feel like for recent events, but generally just being women, it’s safer to kinda stick together,” Frank said.

If ever feeling unsafe on or around campus, students can use ASMSU’s Safe Ride program from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Those with any information on Santo’s whereabouts can call MSUPD's toll-free tip line at 844-99-MSUPD, email or contact Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan at 517-483-STOP.

For resources, MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services, or CAPS, are available 24/7 by calling 517-355-8270. The MSU Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, is also available by calling 517-355-4506.

Students at Grand Valley State University can also contact their University Counseling Center at 616-331-3266.

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