University continues investigation

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MESSENGER PHOTO/COURTNEY PATTERSON University officials and campus police handed out safety procedures to make the students more knowledgeable about safety.

University officials and campus police handed out safety procedures to make the students more knowledgeable about safety.

After a report of sexual assault on the Troy University campus last Thursday, Troy University and campus police are taking extra precautions and making more efforts to ensure the student body, faculty and staff that the campus is safe.

“This is the third incident that we have had (within the past month),” said Herbert Reeves, dean of student services at Troy University. “They were not necessarily of the same type.”

The first incident occurred approximately three weeks ago and involved two males approaching another male, assaulting him and taking his money. The second incident occurred approximately two weeks ago and resulted in a female spraying mace in a male’s face when he approached her at her vehicle.

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The incident Thursday was the first sexual assault report.

According to Reeves, the female was leaving Shackleford Hall through the back exit that leads to Gardner Hall. A young male asked the female to come to him. After she ignored him, he asked her if he could use her cell phone.

Once she approached him, he told her he had a gun in his pocket, but never revealed a weapon. He moved her behind a building and told her to undress.

“Something, we are unsure what it was, spooked him or caused him to run, and he took off,” Reeves said, but not before the female had partially undressed.

“That’s all we know at this particular time,” he continued. “We have a very limited description of the suspect, but police are continuing to investigate the incident. We are continuing to bolster our security efforts in that area.”

Reeves said that temporary lighting has been added throughout the campus and permanent lighting will be added immediately to the Shackleford Quad. The existing lighting also will be enhanced by switching to LED lights.

The Student Government Association will have its biannual night walk tonight, where the students walk the campus to determine where more lighting is needed.

Reeves said that adding more cameras in outside areas of the campus is a possibility, but the lights must be handled first.

“I think the sequence needs to be lighting first then the cameras, because the cameras are not affective unless the lighting is there,” Reeves said

In efforts to encourage the students to keep safety at the forefronts of their minds, Troy University officials and university police set up a table in the Trojan Student Center Monday morning handing out lists of safety precautions.

“We (were) out passing out safety tips to make them aware of their surroundings,” said Troy University Police Chief John McCall. “It’s just the everyday stuff. (Campus police) are trying to make more of a presence in the area. We are doing everything we can to make sure it’s safe for the students.”

As students are understandably concerned with recent occurrences, Reeves encourages all students to submit their concerns so that the university can handle them accordingly and be aware of how the students feel on campus.

“We encourage them to express those concerns and let us know of the areas that they are specifically concerned about,” Reeves said. “We would like to address those issues.”

While the sexual assault is still under active investigation, Reeves assures that Troy University remains a safe campus at that everything is being done in order to keep the students, faculty and staff safe.

“I still would say that we have a very safe campus,” Reeves said.