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President Haas addresses campus community about safety

Posted on September 29, 2016

Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas released the following email message to the campus community on September 29 addressing the steps being taken regarding the recent sexual assaults near the Allendale Campus.

"We as a community have been devastated by the news of another reported sexual assault near our campus. One assault is one too many, and I assure all of you and your families that finding resolution is our highest priority.
 
The safety of our students, faculty and staff is of the utmost concern to university administrators, and we are moving quickly to enhance and implement measures to prevent assaults near the Allendale Campus.
 
Our Grand Valley Police Department is working closely with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office to both investigate these assaults and to prevent others. Ottawa County has beefed up patrols in the areas surrounding our campus and around the apartment complexes where many of our students live. The Grand Valley Police Department is increasing police presence on campus, especially on nights and weekends.
 
Because we know this takes more than police presence, we are meeting today with property managers from area apartment complexes to outline steps we believe they should take to ensure the safest possible living environments for our students. Our campus police are working with our facilities staff to increase security measures on campus. We will move quickly to identify areas that may need more lighting, additional security cameras or monitoring.
 
While enhancing security and encouraging safe practices is practical and necessary, we want to reinforce to our community members that the perpetrator is the only person responsible for a sexual assault. That said, we encourage students to be aware of their surroundings, take precautions and take advantage of the SafeWalk and Rave Guardian.
 
Be an active bystander – if you see something, say something. We need to work together to stop sexual assaults.
 
Tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand River Room in Kirkhof Center, there will be a Town Hall discussion about college sexual assault. Leaders from the Student Senate, Eyes Wide Open, Greeks Against Sexual Assault and Victim Advocate Ashley Schulte from the Women’s Center will host a conversation about safety, sexual assault and what we can do together.  
 
We will communicate any meaningful updates to you on our overall efforts regarding safety, prevention and education, and I am confident that with our continued focus on this issue, we can create a safe learning and living environment for our community."