West Chester University has seen an alarming rise in the number of sexual assaults in the past few weeks. The most recent assault took place on April 25, when an unknown assailant approached a female WCU student from behind. In a different incident, a female was inappropriately groped in Francis Harvey Green library. Public Safety, West Chester University’s police force, has apprehended the man and charges are being pressed.
In response to these attacks, President Weisenstein sent out an email to the entire university urging students and parents to remain calm; that Public Safety is appropriately handling the rise in assaults. He also urged the community to sign up for WCU Alert, which is Public Safety’s primary method to notify students of emergencies on campus.
From the email, President Weisenstein reminded the community, “No campus is entirely isolated from crime and West Chester University is no exception. However, WCU has developed policies and implemented procedures in order to increase safety and security awareness and to provide precautionary measures for all campus community members.”
Given the rise is in assaults, it is understandable safety would become more of a concern. The semester is coming to a close and students are staying up later to prepare for final exams and assignments, as well as enjoying the warmer evening weather.
“After I heard about the sexual assault at the library, I was anxious about going there by myself,” student Molly Herbison said, “especially since the assailant isn’t even a student here. I made sure to stay in a populated area while I was there, but it’s discomforting to feel unsafe on your own campus.”
President Weisenstein’s message also encouraged students to report incidences of assault, even if the students themselves were not involved. Public safety is also actively taking measures in light of recent events.
The Public Safety department intends to counteract the rise in sexual assaults by increasing the number of bike patrols, attending residence hall floor meetings to educate residents, and encourage students to use their walking escort program to help reduce to number of future instances of assault.
Adam Farence is a third-year student majoring in history and French. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu.