By: Gurpreet Kambo, News Team Member
For the second time in two weeks, a safety alert was sent out by security on Burnaby campus warning students that an assault had been reported.
According to an alert issued by Burnaby RCMP, on the morning of July 26 around 4:30 a.m., a woman was walking along Highland Court and University Crescent near the Cornerstone Market. She was approached by a man, who physically assaulted her before attempting to sexually assault her, and then quickly fled the scene.
Burnaby RCMP described the suspect as a black male in his late 20s, about six feet tall with a medium build, and a short, bushy curly beard with a moustache. He was wearing a black hoodie, black sweatpants, and a black baseball cap with a New York Yankees logo on it.
RCMP asked that anyone who may have been in the area of Highland Court, University Crescent, or University High Street around 4:30 a.m. on July 26 and seen anything suspicious contact them at 604-646-9999 or Crimestoppers at either 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.
Reactions from the SFU Community
Later on the day of the incident, SFU News issued a release stating that there is currently “nothing to suggest that this incident is connected to a previous assault that took place on a trail near SFU on July 14, 2019.” In light of both of these incidents, SFU has increased security presence on campus.
However the two assaults have left some students shaken, and concerned about their safety on campus. “[I am] worried about being on campus late at night because both alerts [were] during evening/night time,” said communications student Stephanie Chiakwelu, adding that she felt she needed to make sure not to be out on campus late at night. “I didn’t want any harm to come to me. I honestly felt scared.”
She noted that she thinks students, particularly female students, will feel a sense of fear when moving about campus. “They won’t know what to expect at evening times anymore. I can’t even imagine how sexual assault victims must feel now on campus. I can only hope they’re getting all the support they need. Security needs to be beefed up at the mountain, so that dangerous people will understand that we’re onto them and we don’t tolerate abuse up at our campus.”
“How much security does SFU have up at nighttime that trespassers feel comfortable lurking around campus?” asked Chiakwelu.
Resources for students
In the event of an emergency situation on campus, SFU recommends calling 911, and/or the campus security emergency line at 778-782-4500. If the phone call is made from one of the direct-line security phones or blue emergency phones located around campus, security will be able to immediately know the caller’s location.
SFU also currently provides a 24/7 service called Safe Walk, where students can be accompanied by campus security to their destination anywhere on Burnaby campus, within a two-block radius of Vancouver campus, or to nearby bus stops on Surrey campus. To request a Safe Walk escort, call the Campus Security non-emergency number at 778-782-7991
Students who wish to access counselling and support services can call SFU’s Women’s Centre at 778-782-3870, SFU’s Health & Counselling Centre at 778-782-5781, or SFU’s Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office at 778-782-7233.