Campus / Campus Safety / News / May 21, 2008

New class may be offered in self-defense

Knox may be getting a new class next winter and spring term that would cover the principles of self-defense and be listed under sports studies.

“Our reason for doing this is to promote awareness of sexual assault across campuses in the country,” said Vice President of Students Against Sexism in Society, sophomore Ashley Atkinson. “It will empower people to fight against assault.”

Atkinson hopes that in setting up this class, people will become more prepared for dangerous situations when entering the real world.

The class format would be similar to a dance class with books to read, terminology to learn, and physical activities to do. Literature would be assigned covering topics like feminism and self-defense techniques. It would be co-ed and be offered for half a credit. Class size would range from 15-20 depending on interest and would be graded with a satisfactory or unsatisfactory mark. The class would meet three times a week in the Fieldhouse. Details are in the works, but nothing is yet set in stone.

The interest in this class first began with Atkinson and junior Ben Robbins. It was conceived mainly in response to the grievances and demands that SASS has made recently. Atkinson said the only struggle is finding an instructor to teach the class. Places like Carl Sandburg College have been contacted, as has a kickboxing instructor from town. Both Dean of the College Larry Breitborde and Dean of Students Xavier Romano have been contacted to determine what the process would be in getting this course started on campus.

“I think it’s a good idea. It’s not a bad thing to add to your skill set,” said Breitborde. “It’s so much the better to give confidence in everyday life.”

Breitborde would be interested in seeing who and why people would enroll if the class came to pass. For him, the question of “can we make it happen?” is what needs to be answered if this course is to become reality.

The interested students are considering tabling and hosting a big event in the fall to draw interest. Atkinson hopes that over the summer the plans for this class can be solidified so that in fall it will be pushed to pass.

Patrick Cogar

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