Latest sexual assault near campus increases GVSU students' concerns

Police are investigating another report of sexual assault near or on GVSU's campus.

ALLENDALE, MICH. - The latest report of a sexual assault near Grand Valley State University has some students feeling uneasy. 

This is the third reported assault on or near the Allendale campus in the last two months, these claims come after a series of attacks near the campus one year ago.

The latest reported assault happened early Saturday morning, Oct. 14 on West Campus Drive, near The Lodge Apartments. The suspect approached the victim from behind and raped her, he then ran away. 

Grand Valley officials tell WZZM 13, as far as the number of sexual assault cases, right now, they are tracking similar to last year. An exact number isn't available because incidents are under investigation.

School officials say the two most recent incidents took place off campus and the victims were not students. However, because they were so close to campus, the university did push out safety alerts.

"I don't get why this keeps happening," GVSU sophomore Olivia Chivis said Monday afternoon, Oct. 16. 

"I just feel bad for the person," Lauren Dillon said. The GVSU sophomore is one of the many students that lives in the area. 

"It definitely makes it a lot scarier to like be walking around at night," she said. "You always have to be aware of your surroundings and definitely have someone with you." 

A piece of advice new transfer Mike Ventrello is taking.

"I mean it definitely can happen to guys too. It's not out of the question, so I mean it's something everyone needs to be aware of. Everyone has got to be safe," he said. 

Safety has been on the minds of many over the last few days. Though the incident happened off campus, Ventrello and others hope the university gets involved.

"I've been to other schools where they have emergency call boxes, and I feel like schools should definitely invest in that," Ventrello said. 

"That street, it's not lit up at all," Chivis said.

"I said that when I first moved into the Lodge. They could do way more to prevent stuff like that, so that's really sad that that happened." 

GVSU Vice President for Inclusion and Equity Jesse Bernal responded to those suggestions saying in part:

We have really close partnerships with our County counterparts and have enhanced security measures as well as as lighting near campus in the past. We will continue to listen to our students and address those measures. Student safety is our number one priority."

The suspect is described as: 

  • White male
  • Late teens or early twenties
  • 5'9" - 6'1"
  • 175 lbs
  • Brown hair & brown eyes
  • Last seen wearing dark brown or grey hooded sweatshirt

Campus officials also want to stress there are resources available if you are a victim or know someone who is a victim of sexual assault.

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© 2017 WZZM-TV


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