A female student was assaulted by two “unknown males” between Hemenway and Dwight halls at 8:20 p.m. on Oct. 1, according to a safety bulletin released by FSUPD the following day.
The bulletin stated she “struggled for a short time” with the two men before she was able to “free herself” and return to her dorm.
Sgt. Martin Laughlin said FSUPD is investigating the case. There are no suspects. He said officers are reviewing the footage from the cameras in the area.
Laughlin said the campus has over 85 security cameras, and there are more cameras being installed.
Additionally, Laughlin said FSUPD has increased foot patrols – with a greater presence in the area where the attack occurred, as well as the perimeters of the campus.
He said students should make themselves aware of where the blue emergency light boxes are, and suggested students travel in “packs” after dark.
FSUPD offers safety escorts for students who are walking on campus and feel unsafe at night.
The escort requests typically are honored after the RamTram stops running – from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. But Laughlin said officers will transport students at any hour. “If they’re on a call, it might take them a little while. We’ll let you know how long we’ll be, but we’ll get there.”
Laughlin said it is “difficult” for FSUPD to complete an investigation when students don’t report crimes and urged them not to wait before reporting something to an officer. “You wouldn’t wait to report someone breaking into your house. If you see something happening here, don’t wait to tell us. We need to know.”
He added, “I think we’ve been doing what we can, in terms of this case. We’re working around the clock on this.”
Laughlin urged students to contact FSUPD if they know anything about the assault either in person or through the anonymous tip line.
FSUPD declined to release the incident report to The Gatepost because the investigation is ongoing.
Following the assault, junior Zachary Schofield posted on social media and offered to walk other students back to their dorms if they felt unsafe walking alone.
The post read, “If anyone needs a buddy across campus let me know please. I do not care if it is super late. I do not care if it’s all the way across campus. I do not care if I barely know you. If someone sees you with a big looking dude, hopefully it will reduce the chance of someone assaulting you.”
He said the assault surprised and “disappointed” him. “This campus has, in my time here, been relatively safe and I’ve always felt comfortable being here.
“Hearing about the assault didn’t necessarily make me afraid [for myself], but it made me afraid for my friends and loved ones on campus.”
University President F. Javier Cevallos said the assault was “clearly something that has never happened before. … I am glad the victim is fine. She managed to run away and she’s fine. It seems to me it was an attempted robbery, but I’m not a police officer.”
He said the FSU campus is “very safe. However, we can never let our guard down.”
He suggested all students program FSUPD’s phone number into their devices. He said students need to be aware of their surroundings. “We’re not a gated campus. We want people here enjoying the campus. People walk their dogs here – community members who love our campus. But sometimes, there are individuals with bad intentions.”
Cevallos said students should avoid walking alone and should report any suspicious behavior they see. “Keep an eye out for everyone else.”
At the beginning of this semester, Erin Johnson, junior and SGA senator, began an ad hoc committee to address campus safety. She said, “No one should ever feel unsafe or threatened, especially in a place where people spend most of their day, every day.”
Johnson added, “I want to gather as much student input as I can through surveys and conversations. It’s really important to get student feedback here. I want to represent the safety concerns of everyone. Once I have all of the information and statistics, I want to bring all of that to Campus Police and get some input from them and share what I have to hopefully find ways to improve safety for all students.”
Johnson said the assault made her feel unsafe. “I feel like it’s every woman’s biggest fear to get attacked or assaulted somewhere you’re supposed to feel safe. I’m sad and angry something like this could happen at Framingham.”
Molly Roach, a junior, said the University should be doing more to protect the student body. She said, “I think one thing they should do is have the Tram stop in front of all the dorms. People get out of work late and have to walk all the way to Linsley or West alone, and that’s ridiculous.”
She added that although FSUPD offers safety escorts to students who feel unsafe walking alone, there should be another option for students. “I also think the University should find an alternate resource from the police for safe rides because not every person on campus trusts the police.”
Chrissy Riello, a junior, said, “I don’t feel safe anymore. … A woman’s safety and personal space was breached and that is not acceptable. Any breach on personal space and safety of an individual goes against our community values and that is truly unacceptable.”