Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 22, Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes sponsored by the Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) will be offered on campus for all women.
Although registration is now closed, courses will also be held on Thursday, Feb. 24, Tuesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 3. Each class will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Student Union Multi Purpose room and are offered for free through programming grants.
The University Police Department (UPD) was able to remove the original price of $5 for the RAD courses for the first time this past summer. According to Lieutenant Officer Johnny Coxum, grant funding covered the costs of instructor and student gear, as well as the printing of the manuals distributed and wristbands given out.
According to the national RAD website, the courses are “a comprehensive, women-only course that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training.”
Coxum said that there are many benefits to taking the course and students who take it can walk around campus without feeling a sense of risk.
“It gives women extra self confidence and a sense of safety awareness,” Coxum said.
UPD Officer Jenelle Kelsey said she feels a strong passion for self-defense education because “knowledge is power,” and when people have the knowledge of how to defend themselves, it can help them take control of a difficult situation.
Students are required to attend all four classes and five to six instructors take part, including UPD officers, the director of Resident Life and occasionally a New Paltz town police officer.
Coxum said an introduction will be given about sexual assault and personal safety on the first day. The remainder of the course will provide students with physical defense techniques, including kicks, blocks, punches and basic self-defense techniques.
Instructors dress up in padded foam suits during the final class and attacdk participants. According to Coxum, it is during this time students are given an opportunity to test out their newly acquired skills on the instructors. After getting their manual signed by an instructor, a student can present it in any RAD class in the country and gain free entry regardless of cost.
Kelsey said women should take the class in order to not feel afraid if they ever encounter a situation with a predator.
“The better educated and knowing some self-preservation techniques, the better off you are than having none at all,” said Kelsey. “I feel people panic because they don’t know what to do, so by taking the class you will be one step ahead of the predator.”