Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education


The nexus of social factors, the college experience, and campus safety research represents an empirical gap in the literature surrounding campus safety issues. There is a need for new and creative outlooks on how to approach this culturally sensitive and complex issue(s); a need this research will begin to fulfill. This study intends to ascertain themes regarding the socially constructed reality of campus safety perceptions and concerns, of both male and female students, at a mid-sized Virginia university. A mixed methods procedure was used which included a focus group interview as well as a survey. As Kelly and Torres (2006) wrote, “The perception, just as much as the actual experience was what shaped women students fear for their campus safety” (p. 28), thus it will be the perceptions of the students that will shape their concerns of campus safety. This study will utilize unmatched count technique as the quantitative data collection method and a social constructivist framework to adapt to the sensitive and personal nature of campus safety issues, including sexual assault and interpersonal violence. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data allowed the researcher to determine that students’ perceptions could be categorized and defined in a number of ways. There is a clear need for further research on the subject in order to implement culturally appropriate and effective prevention, response and risk reduction strategies.

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