BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — After issuing five crime alerts in less than three weeks about sexual assaults occurring on campus, Virginia Tech officials shared a message with students and staff on Friday about the importance of stopping sexual violence at the university.
The university has warned the Hokie community about a number of on-campus sexual assaults reported to the Virginia Tech Police Department since late August:
- A sexual assault from Thursday, Aug. 19 outside of West Ambler Johnston Hall between two Virginia Tech students who were acquaintances prior to the incident.
- A sexual assault from Friday, Aug. 20 in the Lane Stadium parking lot between two Virginia Tech students who did not know each other prior to the incident.
- Two sexual assaults from Friday, Aug. 27 on the Drillfield during the Kickoff Concert. The victims are Virginia Tech students who did not know the alleged offender prior to the incident.
- The Virginia Tech Police Department issued another alert on Thursday, Sept. 9 saying that additional sexual assaults were reported from Friday, Aug. 27 that occurred on the Drillfield inside the dense crowd during the Kickoff Concert. However, the affiliation of the victims and alleged offenders is unknown at this time.
- A sexual assault from Friday, Sept. 3 inside Lane Stadium, but the victim and the alleged offender did not know each other prior to the incident.
Then, on Friday, Sept. 10, Dean of Students Byron Hughes and Director of Title IX Compliance Katie Polidoro issued the following statement to the university community about the unacceptability of sexual violence and about every Hokie’s role in creating a safe and welcome campus:
Since the beginning of the semester, the Blacksburg campus community has received multiple alerts concerning sexual assaults that have occurred on our campus. By providing students and employees with timely access to critical campus crime and safety information, Virginia Tech is enhancing safety and security for all those at the university. Many of these incidents occurred at large community events — a time when we should have been welcoming each other back to campus and celebrating the start of a new academic year.
Sexual violence is unacceptable. Full stop. It deeply impacts those who experience it, isolates those who are struggling to re-engage socially, and leaves a tarnish on the community we call home. For those of you who may have been impacted by it or are feeling fearful as a result of the recent events, we are here. There are resources and support measures available to you. Not one Virginia Tech community member should feel that they are unwelcome or unsafe.
We also encourage you to report these incidents to us. We are committed to taking your report seriously. We are committed to upholding university policy, and through fair and impartial means, holding those who perpetrate sexual assault accountable.
Finally, we ask each of you, be what makes our community better. Each of us has a role in creating a campus community free of sexual violence. If you see a fellow Hokie in need of help, be an active bystander. Remember to:
— Distract by finding a reason to interrupt what is happening
— Delegate by finding someone else who can help, or be
— Direct and step in to stop the situation
To learn how to be an active bystander, Virginia Tech Women’s Center can provide a Bystander Intervention program for your class/group or provide training to those who would like to facilitate others on how to be active bystanders.
Last year we all missed being on campus with everyone, so THIS YEAR we want you to have the BEST YEAR by disrupting harmful conversations or actions and creating a space where everyone feels welcome. Please join us in this effort and let us remain committed to each other and the community we serve.
With hope and in solidarity,
Dean of Students
Katie Polidoro,Virginia Tech
Director of Title IX Compliance / Title IX Coordinator
For a list of the additional resources available to handle sexual assault on campus, click here.
For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list