Residents of Kappa Hall, the residence hall in the Andros Complex, were shocked when they heard the news.
University Police (UP) sent out a community notification email Thursday reporting a sexual battery took place within the dorm, which is home to 246 first-year students.
In the state of Florida, sexual battery is defined as the oral, anal or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object the definition of rape in many other states.
Florida defines rape as sexual battery, Lt. Charlotte Domingo of UP said.
A resident of Kappa reported that an unknown male sexually battered her in the residence hall at approximately 6:50 p.m. that evening, according to the UP notification. The suspect was described as a white male, 18 to 22 years of age, 5-foot-8 to 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with a muscular build and short black or shaggy brown hair. The subject was wearing flip flops, dark green cargo shorts, and a dark gray T-shirt.
UP is investigating the case, and Domingo said it would maintain patrol in residential areas and advises students to be aware of their surroundings.
Quite frequently we talk about personal safety, she said. Be vigilant and aware of the environment around you. If you see anyone or anything that looks out of place, notify University Police right away.
Maya Trajkovski, a freshman majoring in psychology and a Kappa resident, said she heard about the incident through the email.
I was really surprised, she said. We took the (Alcohol)Edu course, but I didnt think anything like that would ever happen. It seems safe. I feel safe.
According to the USF Housing website, Resident Assistants are on duty each night at all residence halls, Allied Barton maintains a 24/7 security presence near dorms and between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., Housing pays for additional security officers to walk the exterior of every residence hall checking for propped or malfunctioning entrance or exit doors.
Kappa resident Arenthia Hammond, a freshman majoring in elementary education, said she was walking back from Mu Hall on Wednesday evening when a police officer outside Kappa asked if she had heard anything about the incident. She said she was surprised no one could help the victim.
At six or seven, somebody should have heard something, she said. Schools just started. People should have some sense.
Hammond said though she still feels safe in the residence hall, she has noticed the entire hall taking extra precautions.
Usually, Kappa can be a ghost, she said. The lobby never had people. Now there are always people in the lobby.
Rebecca George, a Kappa resident and a freshman majoring in marine biology, said she received a text from her RA about the incident. RAs posted notices on doors reminding residents of safety tips and reminders to lock their doors.
Trajkovski said shes noticed RAs being more alert at all times since the incident. No further information about the case could be released at the time, Domingo said, as the investigation is ongoing.
We really cant discuss any details of the case, she said. We dont want to say anything that could jeopardize the investigation. Were actively investigating and pursuing leads.
Anyone with information regarding the incident or suspect is requested to contact UP at 813-974-2628. Students should be aware of their own surroundings, Domingo said.