Sexual assault reports spike in September


Cassidy Kuester

Reported sexual assaults surge in September. Three cases of on-campus assaults were reported over a two-week span.

Reported sexual assaults have surged in recent weeks according to emails released by New Mexico State University Police.

NMSUPD released three timely warnings in the month of September, all regarding alleged sexual assaults that occurred in on-campus residencies Sept. 22, Sept. 28 and Sept. 30. Timely warnings of criminal activity are sent in accordance with the federal Clery Act, which requires the notification of the university in the event of a serious or ongoing crime or threat.

Andy Bowen, Deputy Chief of NMSUPD, said little information could be released about the crimes reported to protect victim identities, and charges have yet to be pressed.

“There is no further information at this time,” Bowen wrote in an email. “The Clery Act required timely warning was sent out with the little information we had.”

According to a victim statement addressed in the Sept. 28 report, the alleged incident occurred in an apartment on the main NMSU campus. Both the Sept. 22 and Sept. 30 assaults reportedly occurred in dorm rooms on campus, according to the timely warning.

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu responded to the incident spike via email Wednesday afternoon.

“Being a member of the Aggie community comes with privileges but also responsibilities,” the email read. “Our goal is to eliminate sexual assault on our campuses and to ensure that NMS has an environment that is safe and secure for everyone. This is something we are all responsible for.”

Anthony Kennedy, an NMSU Resident Assistant, said he encourages students to stay safe on campus by becoming familiar with roommates and taking advantage of on-campus resources.

“Having a good relationship with the roomate can help [students] get out of sticky situations and prevent anything from happening to them by letting their roommate know where they are ahead of time or who is being allowed into their apartment,” Kennedy said. “Given the lengthy training of the position, [of RA] I am well aware of the awesome campus resources that are afforded to the students at NMSU and where to refer students to in lieu of any event that may happen.”

Clara Roberts, a senior studying history, said overall she feels safe on campus, but takes precaution especially at night.

“The campus is well lit,” Roberts said. “When I leave from the library at night, especially when I’m alone, I always walk with my keys in my hand and make sure I am paying attention to what’s around me rather than being on my phone.”

Sexual assault has long been a national issue, but has recently seen an rise of victim voice in wake of the #MeToo movement and national coverage of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

NMSUPD has not confirmed if any of the alleged sexual assaults are connected. In case of emergency, NMSUPD ask that students immediately call 911, report serious crime and reaffirms that “No” means “NO!”

Student Victim Services can be found on the Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Program webpage. 

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