Eastern Washington University students reported multiple sexual assault and misconduct incidents on campus in the first few weeks of the fall quarter, prompting police to send a campuswide email on the issue.
Since students moved into residence halls on Sept. 15, the EWU Police Department has responded to three reports of sexual assault and two instances of sexual misconduct, said Chief Jewell Day.
All the incidents took place in campus housing, he said. Police continue to investigate some of the cases, but in others the victim did not want to press charges, he said. No one has been arrested in connection to the assaults. Each assault was an isolated incident, Day said.
The number of reports in such a short period prompted Day to send the campuswide email last week that included resources for victims and safety tips.
“While circumstances around sexual misconduct can vary, it is important to emphasize that acts of sexual violence are never the victim’s fault,” the email read. “The blame lies solely with the perpetrator.”
Police encouraged students to lock their residence hall rooms, not accept drinks from strangers, consume alcohol responsibly, be responsive bystanders and call for help if needed.
“We have a zero tolerance for that type of behavior here on campus,” Day said.
While some of the victims in the recent assaults elected not to pursue charges, their report triggers a student conduct investigation, which could result in campus discipline.
By sharing resources, Day hoped to empower victims and remind students they get to set boundaries and be vocal when someone crosses the line.
“It’s a power issue, right, so we want to do everything we can to put the power back in the hands of the victim,” Day said.
The full email sent to the EWU campus, including resources is available on the university’s website.
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