Watch above: Charge changed from sexual to physical assault on U of S campus
SASKATOON – It was a wake up call to University of Saskatchewan students just one day into the new school year.
On Wednesday, just after nine o’clock in the evening, a notification was sent out by Protective Services after a report of an alleged sexual assault at the Graduate House residence building at College Quarter.
“I thought it was pretty sad that that’s happening on the first day of school,” said Amy Stephens, an arts and science student.
Saskatoon police say an investigation is on-going and the case is now considered an assault.
“We are interested in campus safety … sexual assault and physical assault are crimes and we do our best to foster a culture here of safety and also one of non-violence,” said Ivan Muzychka, associate vice-president of communications for the university.
Students are made aware of any violent crimes on campus through notifications. This e-mail encouraged the student body to report any suspicious activity and included safety information.
“I guess it’s a little nerve-racking but you just honestly have to take safety precautions and just always be with someone I feel like, like that’s what I’ve been doing is whenever I have to out at night or when it’s darker outside I just go with one my roommates or friends cause you just have to be smart about it basically,” explained Kasia Peczek, a first-year student at the university.
In addition to these safety precautions already taken by some students, campus security suggested students take advantage of Safewalk while on campus where an escort will walk them to their vehicle or residence.
A link addressing alcohol and drug use was also embedded in Wednesday’s e-mail.
“It’s university, everybody’s going out every weekend that just want they do and they lose track of where they are, what they’re doing, they need to have someone with them just to be safe,” said Stephens.
Statistics show for young adults almost half of all sexual assaults take place under the influence of alcohol.
“We do pay attention to alcohol use on campus, there’s no doubt about that and you know we educate students when they come to campus about health and safety and wellness and that includes drug and alcohol education,” added Muzychka.