OSU on edge after attacks on women
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Law enforcement officials in Corvallis and at Oregon State University are urging students and local residents to use caution, especially at night, after a woman was assaulted and attacked Saturday off campus.
It was the second assault in the area in the last 11 days and police say the incidents were similar, as were the descriptions of the suspect.
Lt. Steve Mitchell, station commander with the Oregon State Police on campus, said he and his troopers are working closely with the Corvallis Police Department, and OSU's Department of Public Safety on the investigation. They have investigated roughly 40 tips that have come in since the first incident on Jan. 15, and continue seeking additional information.
The Jan. 26 incident, during which an OSU student was knocked to the ground and struck multiple times, occurred off-campus near 29th Street and Fillmore Ave. The suspect was described to Corvallis Police as a white male, approximately 6-foot to 6-3 with an athletic/muscular build. He was wearing a black ski mask, black athletic pants, white shoes and a dark, hooded sweatshirt with a white circle printed across the back with cursive writing extending from the lower left side of the circle to the upper right.
The Jan. 15 incident occurred on campus at 30th Street and Campus Way, and involved an assault against a non-student campus visitor.
In that incident, the suspect attacked a female victim and knocked her to the ground. The suspect in this incident was described to OSP as being in his mid-20s, approximately 6-feet tall with a bulky build, short, dark hair with a thin face and bushy eyebrows.
Persons who may have information about these cases, or know someone matching the description of the suspect(s) should call the Corvallis Police at 541-766-6924, or Oregon State Police at 541-737-3010.
Mitchell and Jack Rogers, director of public safety at OSU, offer several safety tips for OSU students and Corvallis residents.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and try to walk and park in well-lit areas at night;
- Do not go out alone at night if possible; students who must come to campus alone at night should consider using the Saferide service (call 541-737-2252);
- Students who wish to have an escort at night from a campus building to their car or residence hall may call Public Safety at 541-737-3010;
- Carry a cell phone and flashlight and do not wear headphones;
- If you must walk alone, call someone on your phone and let them know your route and when you will arrive.
"Most importantly, if you see anyone behaving suspiciously, call 911 or campus dispatch (541-737-3010) and report it immediately," Mitchell said. "We'd rather have people err on the side of caution. Students, employees and campus visitors should also be aware of the emergency blue lights on campus, and know that all of the elevators in campus buildings have phones tied directly to dispatch."
Telephones in yellow boxes also attached to the exterior of all campus residence halls, Rogers pointed out.
Carrie Giese, sexual violence prevention and education coordinator at OSU, says reports of assaults can trigger adverse reactions in persons who previously experienced sexual violence.
"For persons who have experienced violence in the past, reports of violence and/or sexual assaults can bring on feelings of fear and insecurity," Giese said. "We really want students, faculty and staff to know there are people here that will provide confidential support."
These resources include:
- The Sexual Assault Support Services program at OSU is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and can be reached at 541-737-7604;
- The Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, or CARDV, is a Corvallis support facility open 24 hours a day; its phone number is 541-754-0110;
- OSU's Counseling and Psychological Services department offers support and counseling to OSU students in all areas. It can be reached by calling 541-737-2131.