Three women reported being groped on Vanderbilt University’s campus by an unknown male Jan. 31.
The sexual assaults were reported anonymously to Vanderbilt’s Campus Security Authority and university police department, according to a statement. None of the women reported injuries.
While the string of assaults does not seem to pose an immediate risk to Belmont students, it never hurts to exercise caution when walking around campus, said Pat Cunningham, the chief of Belmont’s Campus Security.
“As the weather turns nicer and more people are outdoors, I’d encourage everyone to be particularly diligent when they’re on public streets and sidewalks since we have so much through traffic in the area,” said Cunningham.
Belmont is an open campus, and while Cunningham doesn’t want anyone to feel like they should constantly be wary of crime, he says that a few “good security habits” can help to keep students safe.
Some of these habits include:
— Use the buddy system. Travel in groups of three or more.
— Travel in well-lit and well-populated areas. Avoid isolated or dark areas.
— Remain aware of your surroundings with your eyes up and alert while walking.
—Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, get to a safe location and call Campus Security or the Metro Nashville Police Department.
Belmont’s Campus Security also offers a service where officers escort students across campus when they feel unsafe, a program Cunningham encourages students to use.
Belmont students can make use of this service by calling the Campus Security non-emergency number.
While Campus Security has systems in place to keep students safe, Cunningham said the best thing students can do is be aware of their surroundings.
“The best practice is to remain attentive no matter where you are. As long as you do that and develop good security habits like those we discussed, then you increase your probability for remaining safe whether on campus or off.”
PHOTO: A blue light emergency call station in front of Belmont’s Potter Hall. Connor Daryani / Belmont Vision
This article was written by Connor Daryani.