CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Students at the University of Illinois aren’t just thinking about classes. After two sexual assaults took place over the weekend, they’re rethinking how to stay safe on campus.
Campus Police said sexual assaults are trending down in 2022. But even still, women are refusing to let their guard down
“I like to have somebody with me, and I think that’s important, especially for girls,” said Samantha Barajas.
“My friends have my location too, that’s a precaution that I take,” said Emma Hill.
“If I have to walk alone, I try to wear brighter colors,” said Aarion Brown. “Like, if I yell for help, people can see me because when it’s dark out here; it’s really dark.”
One assault happened at a fraternity house while the other happened between Sherman and Allen Halls. Both women did not know their offenders. And while two may seem like a lot, Campus police said it’s not.
“It’s not unusual to see two or even three incidents in a short time frame,” UIPD Piblic Information Officer Wade said in a statement. “Ideally, we would see none, of course, but one of the things our Campus Safety Notices are designed to do is offer resources and reporting options so that more students feel inclined to reach out.”
Jaya Kolisetty, Executive Director of RACES (Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services) sayid reported numbers might be the accurate picture of what’s really happening on campus
“It’s estimated about one-in-five when we’re talking about women who will experience an assault while they are a student and that’s heartbreaking,” Kolisetty said.
Since both assaults were near University Housing, we reached out to Chris Axtman-Barker, Associate Director of Housing for Communication and Marketing.
“We acknowledge the seriousness of the incident,” Axtman-Barker said.
He said University Housing is doing its best to protect students.
“We collaborate closely with public safety and patrols near residents’ halls, we have cameras at the entrances and exits of residents’ halls,” Axtman-Barker said.
The dorms are secured with card access and hall staff is trained to help with situations like these.
“If anyone is a victim of course we would tell them to call the police, if it happened in University Housing, we would want to make sure we’re notified,” Axtman-Barker said.
You can also report assaults to the Women’s Resource Center, Title IX office on campus, or R.A.C.E.S located in the Lincoln Square Mall.