USD discusses safety after fourth sexual assault report this school year

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 4:50 PM CDT
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VERMILLION S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Just a month into the fall semester students at the University of South Dakota have already received messages about four different sexual assaults that have been reported.

While it may be scary for students to hear, some students say it brings awareness to the subject.

“With all these reports coming out it makes it more noticeable like people are looking for it better now and it is making it so that people see oh they are reporting so maybe I should not do this. It just makes me feel a little bit safer that they are taking that action on it,” said Grace Reynolds, USD Sophomore.

This is something that chief of police for the USD University Police Department, Bryant Jackson discussed when asked about reporting.

“We know sexual violence and interpersonal violence is an underreported crime so ultimately ninety percent of actual violence on college campuses is underreported across the nation,” said Bryant Jackson, chief of police for the USD University Police Department.

The reports are causing some students to reflect on safety measures.

“Wherever you’re walking especially if it’s late at night, make sure you are always with somebody,” said Trinity Richarz, USD Sophomore

Bringing up the importance of consent.

“No means no and that if someone says yes then even just asking for that extra clarification of asking ‘are you sure?’ does not hurt,” said Fredisha Deah, USD Freshman.

Jackson says these reports are important to offer support.

“Zero tolerance policy for sexual violence or interpersonal violence in general and so back to the piece where the victim is in control of that process, but we strongly advocate them moving through the criminal justice process and the Title IX process and if nothing else just the supportive measures,” said Jackson.

Ultimately helping students to feel more comfortable.

“I am on a campus where I can feel trusted, and I can feel safe, and I know action will be taken further,” said Deah.

Jackson wants to encourage students to access the Everbridge mobile app for safety resources.