Sexual assault on campus raises concerns

Amber Ainsworth
Staff Writer

Last Wednesday a public safety advisory was issued to all students and University of Michigan-Dearborn employees, following a sexual assault that occurred on campus Monday, March 23.

A female student reported that a male hugged and fondled her inappropriately around 2 p.m. This happened between the institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems and the northeast side of the Mardigian Library. The suspect is described as a black male between the ages of 25 and 30, who has a beard and thin build. He may drive a newer model of a red Ford Taurus.

UM-Dearborn police responded to the incident by sending out a campus wide email alert the morning after the incident was reported. In addition to describing what occurred and providing identifying details of the suspect, the email concluded with information about sexual assaults and tips on how students can protect themselves. Students are reminded to always be aware of their surroundings and utilize the blue light emergency phones around campus if they feel threatened.

Campus police are currently investigating the report. Any information about the assault can be reported to UM-Dearborn Police and Public Safety at 313-593-5333. This number has a dispatcher that is available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.

While UM-Dearborn is taking the steps to keep students safe while they are on campus, assaults like the one that occurred Monday raise worries about safety at both UM-Dearborn and other schools. Campus security is constantly driving around the property, there are emergency telephones, and the campus is well-lit, but assaults still occur, even in the middle of the day.

“It makes me feel less safe that this was able to happen in a relevantly busy traffic area in the daytime,” said student Miranda Karanfili. “We should be able to come to school and feel safe, knowing something like this won’t happen.”

“It could happen anywhere,” added Nick Paron. He noted that while he feels that the school does an adequate job at making sure students are safe, he would always offer to walk a friend to their car if they had a long way to go at night.

Sexual assaults have been a hot topic for some time now, as they are continually emerging in the media. Local news outlets have brought light to the situation as well.

The assaults aren’t as prominent on UM-Dearborn’s campus as they are at other schools, yet this report has been the second one about sexual assault on campus in the past six months; a report came of a sexual assault incident that occurred near the Environmental Interpretive Center in September. This incident also occurred during the daytime.

Despite the incident, many students still feel that UM-Dearborn is a safe campus to be on and don’t feel immensely threatened by the encounter.

Olivia Peruski feels that UM-Dearborn is a low risk area for attacks that is safe for the most part.

“It’s sometimes creepy,” said Natalie Mrukowicz, who is often walking on campus after dark, “but there’s a lot of security.”