An open letter on safety

By: Roberto De La Rosa-Finch – Assistant Online Editor

Dear Chief of Police, Rodney Chatman, and President, Dr. Spina,

Our community is in danger and we’re not talking about it.

Every student, professor, faculty and administrative member of the University of Dayton understands that the word ‘community’ holds a far more significant weight on this campus than anywhere else. It is the foundation of our welcoming hospitality. For our abundant generosity. For our unconscious capability that causes 40 students in a row to hold the door for each other. The very same community is often under attack by not just outside forces, but its own members.

Since my enrollment here three years ago, I have received countless emails from Mr. David Schaefer regarding the criminal activity here on campus. These are just a few:

  • A female student reported she was intoxicated and escorted to the room of male student during the early morning hours of Oct. 3, 2014. She alleges that non-consensual sexual activity occurred. She wishes to remain anonymous and has not identified the male suspect.
  • On Dec. 4, 2015 at approximately 11:20 p.m. an Aggravated Burglary occurred at the Irving Commons apartment complex involving four student victims. The suspects forced their way into the residence when the occupants answered the door. Two of the three suspects displayed what was initially reported as possibly toy guns (guns with orange tips) and demanded the occupant’s wallets. A small amount of cash and other personal items were taken.
  • At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 8, 2016 a female student living on Stonemill Road reported that she had been awakened by sounds inside the residence. The student then observed a nude male standing in the doorway of her bedroom. The student screamed at the male, and he fled from the residence in an unknown direction.
  • At approximately 4:00 a.m. on Oct. 15, 2016, a female student reported a sexual assault that occurred earlier in the evening during a party at her University-owned residence. The student reported a male she did not know pushed her into a bedroom and forced her to engage in non-consensual sex.
  • Between approximately 2:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2016, an unknown person or persons entered a house of Rogge Street through a window at the rear of the residence and removed several items of value from bedrooms inside the house. The residents were at home at the time of burglary, but did not see or hear anything.
  • At approximately 3:15 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2016, a female resident of a house on Stonemill Road reported that an unknown male had entered her bedroom and touched her leg while she was sleeping. The male quickly left the room when the resident awoke. Another female resident reported that the male had also entered her room, but left when she confronted him.

Conversely, UD’s Public Safety and Chief of Police has spoken on campus. One of those visits held on March 14, 2016,  in the Torch Lounge and another on Oct. 25, 2016, hosted at the Office of Multicultural Affairs. For both events, general safety and criminal activity were not the main topics. The first consisted of introducing the new chief, elaborating on the do’s and don’ts of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and reminding students that police officers are people too. The second was centered on the recent, and ongoing, racial tensions between police officers and people of color. While both of these topics were noteworthy and of importance, they did not address the continuous crime on campus.

Clearly, voluntary Green Dot Training and a website full of safety tips isn’t cutting it.

We need more discussion, we need more discourse. More discourse with our safety officers about preventing robberies. More discourse on the racial vandalism that occurred on campus housing. More discourse about the reported sexual assaults and the numerous unreported cases.

Apart from campus-wide emails, where is the care? Where is the proactive desire? Where is the participation?

Where is the community?