Woman assaulted in her residence hall

A female undergraduate student reported that she was sexually assaulted in her room at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, according to a campus alert from Safety and Security director Harry Kinne.

A college-aged male who is not enrolled at the College reportedly forced his way into the student’s residence hall and room. The male, described as “a tanned Caucasian male with dirty blond hair and a large athletic build” said he was in the U.S. Navy and was wearing a navy shirt. He may have attended a party at Beta Alpha Omega fraternity before the alleged assault, and was also seen at Bones Gate fraternity.

“We have been in contact with Safety and Security and are doing our best to help the investigation in any way that we can,” BG president Michael Parets ’14 said.

Beta president Ned Kingsley ’14 declined to comment.

Kinne said Safety and Security is following up on all tips received via email and telephone.

“We are investigating the information very aggressively,” he said.

Kinne said he did not know whether the incident reported on Sept. 21 is related to Sunday’s reported assault.

“We’re very cognizant of how distressing this can be to a small community like Dartmouth,” Kinne said. In a second campus alert, Kinne said Safety and Security would keep the community updated on the investigation.

While Safety and Security does not “have a hold over someone who is not a community member,” Kinne said that if that officers identify the suspected perpetrator, they will notify the police. The individual would be “trespassed” from campus, and if the alleged perpetrator attends another institution, Kinne said officials there would be notified of the situation.

Hanover Police is aware of the reported assault, and Kinne said he hoped that they would to make contact with the individual who made the report to obtain further information.

Hanover Police did not respond to request for comment by press time.

Safety and Security is adding extra patrols and working with Residential Life staff to make sure students, faculty and staff are aware of resources available. The second campus email noted that Residential Education is “exercising heightened vigilance” and added that students should lock their room doors, stay aware of their surroundings and walk in groups.

Kinne encouraged students, faculty and staff to call Safety and Security if they need support.

The campus alert did not specify the residence hall where the alleged assault took place to help maintain the victim’s anonymity.

“The goal is to make sure people know something happened and that knowledge will hopefully help other people to call in information to us,” Kinne said.

Students interviewed expressed mixed reactions to the news that a student was assaulted in her residence hall and room.

“It’s scary just because it feels like my residence hall is a safe place that I’ll always be able to come back to,” Carter Sullivan ’17 said. “It just makes it feel like it’s not quite as safe as it seems.”

Sullivan said he was surprised by the number of assaults that have been reported since he arrived on campus and better understands why issues of sexual assault prevention were emphasized during orientation. He added that the College should have placed greater focus on the relationship between sexual assault and alcohol use.

Emma Ractliffe ’17 said her two roommates’ presence helps to provide a feeling of safety, but that she still finds the situation worrisome.

“I haven’t been exposed to it at all, and I find it crazy to realize that it’s happening to other people,” Ractliffe said. “It makes me a little nervous to be walking alone late at night and more conscious about always having someone with me.”

Gianna Guarino ’15, an undergraduate advisor on a freshman floor in McLane residence hall, said she was less shocked by the reports.

“Sexual assault has been an issue here since who knows how long,” Guarino said. “It’s been something on my mind since I’ve gotten here. This is not something new.”

Guarino said it is likely that there have been many more assaults in the past few weeks that went unreported.

Though her residents have not yet come to her with concerns, she said she is prepared to discuss sexual assault. As part of the First-Year Residential Experience program, one floor meeting is dedicated to talking about sexual assault.

Students should be proactive about ensuring one another’s safety beyond social groups, Guarino said.

“I feel like the little communities within Dartmouth look out for each other, but Dartmouth doesn’t look out for each other enough, like the entire community,” she said.

This incident marks the second reported sexual assault on campus in the past month. Safety and Security increased patrols in the wake of the last reported sexual assault, which occurred on the evening of Sept. 21.

For students, faculty and staff who feel uncomfortable walking at night, Safe Ride begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 4 a.m. daily, and Kinne said the department will offer rides as early as 6 p.m. and after Safe Ride ends if the department receives requests. Safety and Security will also escort faculty and staff to their cars.

Residential cluster community directors could not be reached for comment by press time.

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