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Sexual assault reported at Tech

March 27, 2009
By GARRETT NEESE, DMG Writer

HOUGHTON - Michigan Technological University's Department of Public Safety is continuing to investigate an alleged sexual assault on campus late Monday night.

A female Tech student reported being sexually assaulted around midnight in Parking Lot 12, a lot across from the library.

Rod Guilbault, interim director of MTU Public Safety, said the assault was reported around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Article Photos

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
The sign for Parking Lot 12 on the Michigan Technological University campus is seen this morning. A female Tech student reported that she was sexually assaulted in the lot late Monday night. MTU Public Safety is investigating the incident.

No details are available yet about the alleged assailant. Guilbault said he could not comment on if there were any witnesses.

Guilbault recommended people travel in pairs and use caution when on campus at night.

"We're asking the campus, the community, to go about their normal business," Guilbault said. "But we want everybody to be more aware of their surroundings."

Tech spokeswoman Marcia Goodrich said an e-mail was sent out to students and employees around 5 p.m. Thursday.

"Our main concern is for the safety of the community, and certainly if anyone can shed light on this, please contact Public Safety," she said.

From 2005 to 2007, there were seven sex offenses on campus and non-campus buildings, according to Tech's 2008 annual crime report. Figures for 2008 are not yet available.

"We are a very safe campus, but incidents like this can happen anywhere, and we always encourage people to be aware of their surroundings, and make sure they're always safe," Goodrich said. "It's for their own protection."

Several students this morning said they were still unaware of the incident. Those who had heard about it said it didn't seem like something that would happen at Tech.

"It is kind of surprising," said Graham Baker, a fourth-year forestry and wildlife ecology and management student, citing a 2008 Reader's Digest national survey in which Tech ranked third in safety preparedness.

Fourth-year wildlife ecology and management student Elizabeth Banda was also surprised. But she said the incident didn't alarm her much.

"I'm not usually on campus at night, so I'm not too worried," she said.

Anyone with information can contact Public Safety on their main line at 487-2216, their anonymous tip line at 487-0-TIP or via their electronic tip line at mtu.edu/tips.

Garrett Neese can be reached at gneese @mininggazette.com.

 
 

 

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