At Alpha Chi Omega’s 12th Annual Frisbee Fest on Sunday, Oct. 4, Quinnipiac security removed two men from campus for drinking and violating other rules. The men, in Chief of Security and Safety John Twining’s words, “did not belong there.”
Since then, they were seen several times by Alpha Chi members and have initiated conversations with members as they were leaving campus. Women have even been certain these men have followed them, but all incidents have occurred off campus, so they are being treated as an active investigation through the Hamden Police Department.
“We are not ignoring it,” Twining said. “We’ve made sure the people involved are connected with people who can help.”
Because Frisbee Fest was an event that was open to the public, people who were not normally on campus were allowed in attendance. After these sightings, descriptions of these individuals were distributed to the security staff so they would be aware if the men show up again. But by keeping up with the University’s “good neighbor policy,” Twining explained that they are not prepared to close off the campus to everyone but the students and faculty. This would mean not even allowing the Hamden residents who walk their dogs around campus to enter.
Sophomore Gina Gasparrini has been involved with Women Activists Vocalizing Equality (WAVE) since freshman year and is secretary this year. WAVE tries to raise awareness on campus for women’s issues, encouraging women to be strong and independent.
“It’s something, not just our campus, but girls have to know how to protect themselves all around because there are creepy guys out there,” Gasparrini said.
Twining has heard this year, more than previous years, that students do not feel safe. But to him, there’s a difference between people’s perceptions and their actual safety.
“Nothing has changed at Quinnipiac. Our crime rate is almost null.” Twining said. “If changing our security protocols would’ve made someone safer, we would’ve done it already.”
In an effort to dispel rumors, Twining would like the campus to know that the perception of “two horrible men tracking everyone down is not true.” These men also have not, contrary to rumor, chased anyone down in their car nor have they been seen at York Hill.
In one case, Quinnipiac security and Hamden police tracked the license plate of an individual who had driven around the York Hill campus. Upon talking to him, they identified him as a pizza deliveryman trying to find the Crescent.
Quinnipiac was ranked 20th in a study done by TheDailyBeast.com in the listing of the safest four-year universities with undergraduates and residents. The only other two Connecticut universities to make the top 25 were Central Connecticut State University, which ranked slightly ahead of QU, and Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, which ranked behind QU slightly. Both CCSU and SCSU have designated police forces on campus.
WAVE is co-sponsoring an event with all the sororities, the Student Center and the Panhellenic Council tomorrow, Oct. 29, at 9:30 p.m. in Burt Kahn Court. The event, Girls Fight Back, is meant to teach women to be independent and protect themselves with self-defense.
“Be aware of who’s around you, what’s going on around you, don’t travel alone and call an escort if you want one,” Twining said. “If you see something suspicious call 582-6200, we’ll check it out, that’s our job. Quinnipiac is a safe place. We are a community and we take care of each other and have a security department that works real hard to support that.”