Southern Utah University to offer defense class for credits

Sep 8, 2022, 12:46 PM | Updated: 12:50 pm
SUU housing...
Southern Utah University saw the largest increase in enrollment than any other institution a part of the Utah System of Higher Education. Photo April 7, 2021 (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Elizabeth Smart Foundation (ESF) and Southern Utah University (SUU) are partnering to offer a self-defense skills course for students. This course comes this fall to SUU in the form of a one-credit hour class called Smart Defense™. 

The integration of the course into the SUU curriculum is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for students. Most of the skills and techniques learned will incorporate Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. The goal of Smart Defense™ is to give participants the best chance or advantage to stop a potential threat or escape an attacker.

The university will offer only one Smart Defense™ course per semester. Although this fall is already full, the spring semester is still available. Each course will allow 40 students to enroll and split the students into two classes. The elective course will be five weeks long and taught by two Smart Defense™ instructors. 

In a press release, the university said “SUU is honored to partner with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation as the first university to incorporate Smart Defense™ into its course offerings.”

“This training reinforces our commitment to student safety and well-being, and it equips students with invaluable skills, strength and confidence that will benefit them in their college life and beyond,” said SUU President Mindy Benson in the release.

The course comes as a result of high sexual assault numbers seen on campuses not only in Utah but across the U.S. The training will not only help victims escape the situation but pick out red flags before any attacker situation has the chance to occur. 

The Elizabeth Smart Foundation and SUU will host a press conference at the ESF offices in Trolley Square On September 14, at 12 p.m. to provide more information about the partnership and program. 


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Southern Utah University to offer defense class for credits