After a year of being bombarded with campus safety alert e-mails and hearing repeated concern for the safety of our campus from University officials and community members alike, the campus safety alert issued Sunday in regards to a sexual assault in Pioneer Hall likely came as a surprise to few. However, this incident has put many more people on edge than past safety alerts and brings up some important issues surrounding dorm safety that need to be highlighted.
According to the safety alert, an 18-year-old female resident of Pioneer Hall was taken by two males into a third floor bathroom where she was sexually assaulted. According to the victim, these men were strangers. Police statements indicate that they believe the men are not students, meaning that they may have entered into Pioneer by following a resident through a propped door.
Obviously, for the students at Pioneer, and those at all University residencies for that matter, this incident has hit home. It is common practice for students to let strangers in behind them, without any knowing of whether they are a resident or even a student. These two men could have, hypothetically, been let into Pioneer by anyone – and this one time, the consequences were tragic.
Since the incident, security at Pioneer has been heightened, and students have remained extremely conscious about watching the doors shut behind them. It is likely that more security enforcements such as limiting entrances and more security cameras will be established in the coming months.
“Tailgating,” as lame and unimportant as dorm residents once thought it to be, is extremely dangerous to the safety and security of residents. It is terrible that it has taken such an unfortunate incident to bring these safety concerns back to light.