A third safety alert within the span of three weeks was issued to all students on Friday, Sept. 25, after a case of on-campus sexual abuse was reported to the university police last week.
According to the university police incident report, a 19-year-old female student reported the incident that occurred at around 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, behind Shackelford Hall.
“We had a female student who was approached by a black male sitting behind Gardner Hall who asked to use her phone, and when then she produced the phone for him, he inappropriately touched her,” said John McCall, chief of university police.
“We are looking for a heavyset black male who was wearing black sweatpants and a black hoodie.”
According to McCall, the incident wasn’t reported until 1 p.m. the following day.
“I guess the biggest thing I want to relay to the students is that when these events occur, you need to report them immediately,” he said.
“We’ve had three incidents this semester in the Shack Quad-Gardner Hall area, and none of them had reported the events immediately. They had come in the following day or hours later and reported on them, and that’s just not helping us at all.”
McCall urged students to contact university police right away if such events occur, in order to ensure that the perpetrators get caught and future crimes are deterred.
“We are still working on all three of the incidents that took place,” he said. “But it’s very hard to get leads the day after.”
“We are trying our best to give students a hundred percent, but we are not getting a hundred percent from students that we’ve got to have.”
Increased lighting and patrol have been seen throughout the campus following the incident.
“We have folks working overtime,” McCall said. “We’ve added lighting to the (Shack) quad. We are doing everything we possibly can.”
McCall said that talks were in place to upgrade and update the existing permanent lighting on the Shackelford Quad to light the area better, since it tends to be darker due to the large magnolia trees.
Students are continuously being urged to walk in pairs and be aware of their surroundings. McCall also suggests that students turn and go in other directions if they are being approached or are made to feel uncomfortable by unknown persons.
“This last reported incident, it wasn’t even dark when this occurred,” McCall said. “It’s just kind of hard to imagine some of these things happening at daytime or at dusk. But they can happen.”
The university police set up an informational booth at the Trojan Center on Monday, Sept. 28, to have briefings with students about their safety concerns.