DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – University of Dayton students returned to class on August 22 and since then, at least two safety alerts have gone out to students. The most recent incident reported was a sexual assault near campus earlier this week.
Students spoke to 2 NEWS saying they usually feel safe on campus, it’s when they step off campus that they have safety concerns. These recent reports add to the worry.
“I was really kind of unsettled just because of how it is only to the third week and how like there’s already been an overwhelming amount of emails that have been sent out,” UD Junior Anjali Katyal said.
The campus safety advisories were emailed to students from UD’s Department of Public Safety.
The first report was a stalking incident that happened in the morning on August 28th in the off-campus student neighborhood. Two female students reported encountering a man claiming to be an undercover police officer.
The second incident happened this week, around 2:30 a.m. Monday. A female student reported she and another student were harassed by a group of five men.
The alert says the men said they would not stop unless the woman hugged them. The men then groped her before the students could leave.
“The beginning of a school year is the time when incidents happen most often, and so when it does unfortunately occur, making sure that we are taking the time to believe and validate individuals that share their experiences,” Sexual Violence Preventionist with the YWCA Dayton Topher Peck said.
The YWCA has an on-campus advocate at UD once a week, they work with campus organizations, and have started a Gem City Safe bars program, all to create awareness around preventing sexual violence.
Students said the university keeping them aware does make campus feel safer.
“I think the school though has been like doing a great job by calling us and texting us and just like keeping us alerted the whole entire time, especially the people that do live off campus,” UD Junior Megs Bojarszyk said.
Peck said this transparency from the university can start conversations around the topic.
“It allows survivors to come forward and to share their stories, to seek the support and resources that they require,” Peck said. “It allows us to shift the societal focus from the survivor to the perpetrators because that’s really where the responsibility lies is and holding them accountable”
The YWCA Dayton also provides advocacy services and holds support groups for survivors. They also have a 24/7 crisis line available at 937-222-SAFE.
Students told 2 NEWS about the Flyer Safe app, which students can use to make sure they get from point A to point B safely, share their location with designated friends and call for help from their phones if needed.
To report any information related to these incidents, or report an instance of sexual misconduct, UD encourages students to visit go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination or contact Public Safety at 937-229-2121.
2 NEWS reached out to UD and Campus Police, however, they declined to comment.