Outlying neighborhoods surrounding the SU campus have experienced incidents of assault and are leading to cries for stricter campus security and safety.
In the months of October and September alone, there were three reported incidents of assault with two leading to arrests. The first incident occurred on Sept. 25 at approximately 1:15 a.m. in the nearby neighborhood of Cedar Crossing.
According to Salisbury City Police a large group of civilians surrounded a student’s car, pulled him out and repeatedly assaulted him until authorities were notified. The other two assaults took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 2 near Bateman Street, an area of heavy pedestrian student traffic to and from campus.
The incidents, one sexual in nature, both resulted in arrests with assistance provided by University Police and the Salisbury Police Department.
Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach released a statement following the matters.
“Salisbury Mayor Jake Day and I are in continuing conversation to explore measures to address crime in our community,” Eshbach said. “My administration is also working closely with law enforcement, the business community and the State’s Attorney Office to confront these pressing issues.”
Off-campus resident Megan Miller voiced her concerns regarding the recent events. “I’m definitely concerned about how often sexual assaults happen on college campuses,” Miller said. “I know Salisbury is extremely persistent in educating its campus community on safety…I am sure SU Police as well as city officials treat each case with the diligence and delicacy that the victim deserves.”
Shortly following the events, SU Student Affairs officials announced via email to students and faculty their concerns and actions in resolving the safety hazards. They emphasized the opportunity for victims to take full advantage of the university’s numerous health and safety services.
“Salisbury University is concerned about the assaults that happened on or near campus over the past two weekends…SU Police are continuing to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to address the situation,” the email said.
SU Student Government Association Vice President of External Affairs Frank Condori shared updates of ongoing precautions and security improvements.
“We have partnered with university police in bringing to service the 911 Shield app that will greatly increase student security on and near campus,” Condori said. “We are looking at other institutions and what they do to better the safety of student and faculty on campus.”
Both the Salisbury Police Department and University Police have stepped up patrols in area parking lots and streets while increasing analysis efforts of security surveillance cameras.
If a student or faculty member finds that they are in a potentially dangerous situation, or that they are a victim of an assault, they are encouraged to immediately contact local authorities and to make use of the SU Counselling Center if needed.
Students are still reminded to pay attention to information that is sent out regularly by SU Police. They are advised not to walk alone after hours and are encouraged to take advantage of the campus escort service, especially while under the influence of alcohol. Be aware at all times of the important steps that can be taken to preserve your own safety.
By SAWYER CORNELIUS