Students at Shepherd University stay vigilant and walk in pairs after reports of recent sexual assault.

Assault attempt raises campus anxiety

In the wake of Sunday night’s attempted assault on Shepherd University campus, most women interviewed said they did not feel safe on and off campus.

“As a woman, I have always been wary of walking by myself at night, both on campus and in town,” said Eileen Waggoner, 22, a junior. “Not only do I carry pepper spray and advise others to do so, but I often walk with my dog. I think Shepherd students should always be vigilant, particularly in light of recent events. This even should remind us that rape culture is still a very real threat for college campuses, and Shepherd is no exception.”

Eight Shepherd University women were randomly interviewed Monday. Of those, five said they feared for their safety, two said they were not afraid, and one said she felt safe because she only walked with her boyfriend.

No arrests have been made in the attempted assault that occurred Sunday evening behind Shaw Hall. The woman said a man grabbed her from behind and tried to put his hands beneath her clothing. She was able to scream and he ran away, she said. It is the policy of The Picket not to identify victims of crimes of a sexual nature.

“I wouldn’t say I don’t feel safe on campus, but I’m not walking around in fear,” Molly Langland, 20, a sophomore, said. “If I were on campus at night, I would probably bring someone with me though just as a precaution, until they catch whoever it is.”

Of the eight female students interviewed, six of them agreed that they feel safer during the day than at night.

Maddie Boehm, 20, a senior said, “Since my freshman year, I’ve followed the rule that, at night, I should walk with no headphones in or music playing. Even if I am with someone, I am sure to stay on my toes with my full attention on my surroundings.”

Justine Niner, 20, a junior said, “I don’t feel safe because I know he’s still out there and I know people who have already had an interaction with him. I don’t feel that I need to be more alert because I always have been aware because I’m from the city.”

Students with any further information on this incident are encouraged to contact the Shepherd University police department at (304) 876-5374 or (304) 876-5202.

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