Students react to on-campus sexual battery

The alleged sexual battery happened on June 29 and is still an ongoing investigation. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

At approximately 3 a.m. on June 29, the University Police Department (UP) investigated a sexual battery in Magnolia D. The case sparked discussions among students regarding safety around campus.

UP spokesperson Audrey Clark said the victim was acquainted with the suspect.

In 2018, seven sex offense cases were reported to UP, according to Clark. So far, three cases have been reported and investigated this year.

“A majority of the sexual batteries reported to us for investigation, alcohol is usually a contributing factor,” Clark said when discussing some of the different programs and trainings UP offers to increase awareness.

Despite UP notifying the USF community on the same day of the alleged battery, some students expressed their concerns on safety and the importance of spreading awareness on the issue.

Tori Ortisi, a freshman majoring in pre-nursing, said having safety precautions is vital for all students, especially females, in case an unexpected event happens.

“Going out and being young in college can expose us to many different threats, especially being a woman,” Ortisi said. “You never know what can happen and that’s scary. So the best option is always to be prepared.”

Students highlighted the importance of spreading awareness as well as becoming more aware of security measures on campus.

For Max Mulvihill, a freshman majoring in information technology, he said being aware of the issue and sharing information about the crimes are important to keep the students informed and better prepared.

“Seeing how it happened, spreading awareness about the issue and avoiding situations where my safety is threatened are important things to take into consideration after events like this happen,” Mulvihill said. “If something like this happens on campus, I usually take precautions and do everything that I can to make sure I’m not a victim of it.”

Besides sexual batteries, cases of stalking have also been reported to UP, where five happened so far this year, compared to three cases in 2018.

Women’s safety concerns arise as more cases are reported over the years. According to Sage Gorby, a sophomore majoring in business advertising, all students should practice awareness.

“When I heard about the case of sexual battery on campus, I wasn’t surprised as it, unfortunately, became common in today’s society,” Gorby said. “I’m sad that we still have to deal with these types of situations, especially in a place so close as USF.”

Built in 2001, Magnolia apartments is a coed, apartment-style residence hall that houses approximately 484 students. Pedro Jogaib, a freshman majoring in chemistry, lives in Magnolia D.

“When events like a sexual battery happen on campus, I don’t think that my safety is threatened but I do feel that girls' safety could be under threat, especially when it’s a coed residence hall,” Jogaib said.