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UWF Police Investigate Sexual Assault

University of West Florida

Police at the University of West Florida received a third party report of a sexual assault that occurred on the Pensacola Campus last month. An investigation is underway.

It’s the third sexual assault reported to campus police this year. An email was sent out under the provisions of the Clery Act. Passed in 1990 and named for a rape-murder victim in Pennsylvania, the act requires colleges and universities that receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus; efforts to improve campus safety, and to inform the public about both.

UWF Police Chief John Warren says sexual assaults are the most under-reported crimes.

“The type of sexual assaults that you typically see on universities are what we call ‘acquaintance rapes,’” said Warrant. “They know each other, and they could be in a dating situation. And often if boils down to a question of consent.”

The email urges students to take precautions for their personal safety. That says Warren, begins with communication.

“There can be mixed messages in these situations, and if you’re not sure, ask,” said Warren.

Someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not be able to give active consent. Another tip involves witnessing what appears to be a sexual assault – don’t be a spectator.

“You can call the police,” Warren said. “Depending on how well you know the parties involved you can say ‘Hey, wait a minute. Is this really what you’re going to do?’ If you see a friend who’s had too much to drink and is being offered and accepting a ride home from a stranger, say ‘Hey wait a minute – let’s rethink this.’”

Warren also reminds everyone about the 53 emergency call boxes – marked with blue lights – which are set up across campus. You can also use your mobile phone, or dial 911.

One of the most effective precautions is also one of the easiest. If you go out at night, go in pairs or groups. UWF Police Chief John Warren says there’s safety in numbers, and his department can help out.

“We have a campus safety escort program through the police department,” Warren said. “If you call us, we will send either an officer or one of the students we hire to provide a safety escort.”

Victims of sexual and other physical attacks on campus can get help through UWF’s Counseling and Wellness Center in Building 960.

The campus Counseling Service number is 474-2420; the UWF Police Department is 474-2415. Information on both is available at www.uwf.edu.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.