The U’s Safest Option: Utah Asia Campus


Incheon Global Campus located in South Korea. (Photo by Mitch Shin | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Mitch Shin, News Writer

According to an interview with Randall McCrillis, the dean of students at the University of Utah Asia Campus, no incident or accident has happened at the UAC since its opening, standing in contrast to the campus in Salt Lake City, which has experienced several high-profile incidents of violence. Even though there have been no safety issues at UAC, some students still raised their voices on ways to prevent firearm incidents on both campuses.

“UAC can be called a safe campus. It is kind of related to the Korean culture because Korea is the second safest country among OECD countries. So, the safety of the country, not only of the campus, is quite safe when we compare it with other countries,” said McCrillis. He also brought up that the number of students and the size of the campus is the main reasons why UAC is the best place for students who consider safety a top priority.

UAC’s Dean’s Office has also published the UAC Annual Security & Fire Security Report, commonly called the Clery report, and no incident has been recorded since the school’s opening five years ago. The Clery report is used to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics. “There have been no incidents on the campus,” said McCrillis. The Clery report presents annual crime and fire statistics and also includes information about safety and security-related services offered by the university.

UAC is one of many universities located in the Incheon Global Campus in South Korea. IGC has four different universities from the U.S. and Belgium: the State University of New York Korea, George Mason University Korea, Ghent University Global Campus, and the University of Utah Asia Campus. Beginning in 2012, IGC has become a well-organized campus for students in the western educational system who are interested in learning in Korea. The number of students is increasing yearly and many graduates tend to work for international corporations or go on to graduate programs.

According to a recent story published by The Chronicle, President Ruth Watkins has prioritized campus safety and has hired a chief safety officer, also investing almost $1 million in funds for safety accommodations. How do students in Korea feel about the new safety measures, and what is being implemented at the UAC?

A few students who came from the Salt Lake City campus and are now studying at UAC questioned the policies implemented by the U’s administrators and wondered if they will maintain safety effectively. They also suggested other ways to handle issues rather than the policies UAC administrators mentioned in their statement. 

“Even though there are two police boxes at the campus, it is not an effective way for students to feel safe unless they have a phone number to call when they are in an emergency situation,” said Sierra Wakefield, a film and media arts major at UAC. The police boxes contain an emergency phone a victim should be able to use during an emergency. Wakefield also suggested the U should hire more security officers who can work all day at the campus rather than simply placing more police boxes.

Wakefield also said the school needs to have more lights on at night. “There are some classes that start at 10 p.m., and sometimes students need to walk on a very dark street. Also, buildings can be very far apart to take classes so that the keycard for the security inside of the building is necessary.”

Regarding safety at UAC, Wakefield explained she was surprised that students who walk around at night do not carry any pepper spray or tasers. “I don’t need to [bring] a pepper spray to go somewhere in or out of the campus even at night time. Students at the UAC seem like they don’t feel any fear or worries about safety at all. I think students may consider coming to the UAC when they think safety is important.” Wakefield came to the UAC for the 2019 fall semester and was satisfied with how campus officials manage security on campus and dorms.

“UAC is not scary. [Buildings] are close together,” said Kiara Colqui, also a major in the department of film & media arts. She agreed that UAC is a safe place to study and live. Colqui also said that she is glad it takes less than two minutes to get to her other classes at the UAC, unlike at the Salt Lake City campus where she noted that it took about 15 minutes to go from class to class. “I haven’t seen the police boxes at the Salt Lake City campus, but it seems like UAC doesn’t need to have a police box on the campus,” said Colqui.

Kim Yong-Pyo poses in front of the IGC Multi-Complex Building after the interview with the Chronicle. (Photo by Mitch Shin | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The State University of New York Korea was the first to open in IGC back in 2012.”We mainly focus on crime prevention, fire prevention, and creating a study-friendly atmosphere on campus by making students feel safe,” said IGC security officer Kim Yong-Pyo. He was a police officer for 35 years and has served as a security officer since his retirement.

“We’ve tried to set our own curriculum and manual for preventing incidents. We also cooperated with the police officers of Incheon Metropolitan City on how to manage the campus security effectively,” Kim said. “Starting this semester, we will establish a student self-government crime prevention squad to make the campus safer even at night,”

According to the IGC website, South Korea has been selected as the safest country in the world for 3 years in a row. The South Korean government decided to open the IGC in 2007 and made a budget for attracting international college institutions. The chair of the IGC foundation is also the mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City and IGC is monitored by the National Assembly annually. Even though IGC has successfully created a safe campus for students, Kim is always trying to do more and keeps a lookout for any problems with their security system, or something the government’s thorough inspection might have overlooked or missed. 

Canada Maple International School is also located in IGC and many residents of Songdo visit the IGC to use the school’s facilities, especially the swimming pool and soccer field. This has made IGC officials set important and concrete policies for campus security, not only for the college students but also for the residents and overall citizens.

The Dean’s Office has published the Clery report annually and will publish the 2019 Clery report this month with the updated safety status of the UAC. 


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