Self defense

Independent trainer Isaac Prud’homme leads a self-defense class at Hotz Hall. The training was part of “Self-Defense and Sweets,” an event for students to learn safety strategies.


On International Women's Day, SPEAK and the UA Police Department partnered to host a “Self-Defense and Sweets” event in the Hotz Hall lobby. The hosts provided free keychain alarms, Rick's Bakery cupcakes, a self-defense class and sexual assault education to attendees.

SPEAK, formerly known as No Woman Left Behind, is an organization that provides on-campus students with educational initiatives about sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention, consent and healthy relationships.

Freshman Hotz resident Brianna Ifland was the primary organizer of the event. She came up with the idea of hosting a self-defense class and passing out safety alarms last semester, for which she obtained funding through a Residents’ Interhall Congress bill.

“I'm very big on personal safety and being aware of those sorts of things and doing everything you can to keep yourself and other women safe,” Ifland said.

Grace Martin, a junior wellness resident assistant, also played a key role. She and Ifland planned the event for months, and they were excited to finally see their work pay off, they said.

The program's vision was to educate residents about safety on campus and provide them with some tools to protect themselves, Martin said.

Over 40 students came to the event, and the first 25 received a free Birdie personal safety alarm.

Sophomore Isaac Prud’homme, an independent trainer, taught a self-defense class and led the students in various exercises. He also shared the five A's of self-defense: awareness, alertness, avoidance, anticipation and action.

The hosts then provided the safety alarms as a backup tool to set off if people forget the maneuvers.

“Having those devices on you is going to be a lot easier, a lot more accessible when you're in a high-stress situation,” Ifland said.

Many people said they attended the event to feel more confident about staying safe at the UofA, especially women who have to walk at night.

“My sorority informed me about the self-defense event, and I was interested in going so that I could learn more about staying safe, specifically on campus,” freshman Karrin Kirkendall said. This event taught me many useful strategies for being safe and protecting myself, especially when I'm alone.”

Although the event was open to all students, it was intentionally scheduled on International Women's Day to draw attention to the fact that women are more likely to feel unsafe on campus and offer ways to improve their safety.

“You don't have to be a woman to attend this event, but it is disproportionately a women's issue, unfortunately,” Ifland said.

UAPD Corporal Allen Porter briefly attended the event and shared additional information about safety on campus. Department services include the SafeZone Mobile Safety App,, free escorts, and vehicle unlocks and jumps.

“Please think of UAPD as a resource for you and know that our sole mission is to try to make the campus safer for everyone,” Porter said in an email.

Students can find additional information about these resources on the UAPD website.

Overall, the event planners said they wanted to showcase the severity of the issue and give them tools to stay as safe as possible.

“I hope attendees learn about the real danger they might be faced with if they aren't careful about where they go/with whom,” Martin said. “Personal safety is no joke. But I also hope they learn that UAPD is there to help with unsafe situations and how to avoid serious physical harm if it comes to that.”

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