Students question safety after reports of rape on campus

Two alleged rapes were reported to Sonoma State University Police Services last month. The alleged rapes occurred in residence halls on campus in the months of August and September, leading some students to question their safety on campus. According to Sonoma State Police Chief Nathan Johnson, the investigations have been suspended. 

“In both cases, the victims didn’t cooperate at all,” said Johnson. “They didn’t want to report to the police.” 

Johnson said that both of the cases were still filed as police reports to ensure disclosure. 

However, many students are upset they did not receive emergency notifications of the reports. 

“It’s maddening that we haven’t been sent a statement or a notice by police on this matter at all yet,” said Sonoma State Junior Gyuwha Lee. “I’m notified on changing my email password multiple times but not about a crime that is rising on campus? Shame.”

As shown in the university’s Annual Crime Report for 2014, there has been an upward trend of the number of rapes on campus in the last three years. 

Last year a total of eight sexual offenses were reported to havebeen committed on campus. Five of those sexual offenses were rapes with four occurring in residence halls.

In the fall 2015 semester, there have been two reports of rape according to the crime log on the campus police website. 

The first was reported on Sept. 6 and occurred on Aug. 31. The report is classified as a 261(A)(1)PC offense meaning the victim was incapable of consenting.

The second alleged rape occurred on Sept. 12 and was reported the same day. It was listed as a 261(A)(2) PC offense meaning the attack was committed with force. This is all the information known so far of the alleged crimes. 

“I honestly didn’t even know we had a high amount of sexual assaults on campus especially in the dorms,” said Rachel Miles, a sophomore who lives on campus. “It’s a little scary.” 

Students on campus have not been alerted of these crimes on campus via a timely warning such as an email, which is a concern of students.

“What I don’t like is that we are finding out now. I lived on campus last year and I wished we could’ve been told this was happening” said Alyah Sablan, junior at Sonoma State.

Other California State University campuses such as CSU Long Beach have alerted their students on incidents of rape on campus. On Sept. 20, a rape at CSU Long Beach was reported to campus police by a female student who said she was raped by a male student in a residential hall on campus.  Police responded by issuing a campus-wide email to students asking anyone with additional information to call police services.

“It’s really nice knowing what’s going on around campus and sometimes these email warnings are eye opening and fresh in my mind when I go out or am alone” said Payton Devore, a freshman at CSU Long Beach.

Greg Pascal, a communications and information manager for CSU Long Beach Police Services said the university has a specific protocol for how they alert their students of crime on campus.

“The decision of whether or not to send out a notification was based on the circumstances of the case and how those circumstances met or did not meet the criteria in our [Timely Warning] policy,” said Pascal. “Any sexual assault or any other crime that meets the requirements above will result in a notification going out,” 

Any developments about the cases of alleged rape on campus will be reported as it becomes available.