Sunday, Sept. 6 brought a sobering note to Albion College’s campus. At 12:07 p.m. Campus Safety sent out a text message alert to students regarding an incident that had taken place early that morning on campus. Albion Public Safety arrested a 20-year-old man after an alleged sexually assault on a student in Wesley Hall. The student was able to fight off the suspect, where he ran to the Octagon House, an on-campus residence, to escape before he was caught and arrested. The man has since been charged with attempted rape.
Only hours after sending that first text, Campus Safety sent out another message regarding a separate and unrelated incident that occurred in Whitehouse residence, where someone broke in and entered another student’s dorm room.
Campus Safety reported these as non-related incidents, but the fact they both happened this past weekend brings a chilling reminder that Albion College isn’t immune to violence.
Kenneth Snyder, director of Campus Safety, stated in an email, “…Most of the crimes that do occur here can be prevented with basic safety precautions like not propping exterior doors, not leaving valuables unattended, keeping room doors locked, and not walking alone on campus after dark. However, serious incidents like what happened this weekend are always possible, and there is no campus or place in the world that is totally immune from them.”
When events like these occur, obviously fear and anger are natural responses. The questions are, how can our campus prevent these incidents from happening and what safety measures can students take to ensure they are safe?
RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), a leading anti-sexual assault organization, sounds a similar note: “College campuses can give you a sense of security—a feeling that everyone knows each other and watches out for one another,” their website points out. “There are perpetrators who take advantage of this feeling of safety and security to commit acts of sexual violence.”
RAINN also provides tips for increasing campus safety, including: always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night; have a backup plan if you’re in an unhealthy situation; and be careful in how you let social media post your location.
One new security precaution you can take is downloading the new Companion App, which was created by five University of Michigan students to increase safety when a student is walking home at night. It’s a GPS tracking app that allows your chosen “companion” to virtually walk you home and make sure you arrive safely. The app is free to download and comes with a selection of safety features.
Photos by Albion College Communications Office