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LSU set to hold virtual forum on student safety following alleged rape on campus
BATON ROUGE - Following an arrest in an alleged rape, as well as various other crimes that have happened on campus since the start of the school year, LSU plans to hold a virtual forum addressing student safety Thursday at 6 p.m..
On Nov. 2, police arrested a man who allegedly raped a woman at gunpoint inside an LSU dorm hall. Earlier this year, LSU campus saw reported kidnappings and armed robberies.
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard says the meeting comes after several high-profile crimes have occurred just this semester alone.
"The beginning of Welcome Week up until now, so much crime has happened," said LSU student Jacqueline George. "It's crazy because you see stuff like, someone almost got kidnapped, there's attempted kidnappings, two minutes away from you, there was an assault happening right near the dining hall, there was a rape that happened right here in my dorm."
George went on to explain another big concern she has: "Hearing first-degree rape happened here at my dorm on October 9th and we're in November, I'm sitting here thinking, 'oh my god, where was I October 9th?'"
A lack of timely response isn't the only concern students are voicing. MaryLee Kelso says she's losing trust in the university's police department after she's noticed a decline in the amount of active patrolling on campus.
"I think that especially during nighttime, it's getting dark earlier, I don't really see a whole lot of police presence anywhere," Kelso said.
It comes after LSU claimed to step up patrolling and other safety measures early in the semester when an influx of violent crime first started.
Jacqueline George says she thinks part of the problem also stems from enforcement inside the dorms. George thinks there needs to be an oversight on who is let into the dorms.
George says gameday chaos is another problem raising safety concerns. Just a few days ago, a string of incidents was discovered after LSU's gameday against Alabama.
"I got pushed and almost fell on my face... students throw their beer... the person right next to me got hit in the eye with a beer bottle," George said.
Both George and Kelso think there needs to be more enforcement in the stands, but that isn't the only recommendation they have for campus officials.
Kelso says they need a better system to submit crime reports.
"I would probably just phone a friend," Kelso said. "I don't really have that much trust in using the app or things like that. Some places have actual call buttons on campus that you can run to and press, alerting police immediately."
The forum will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. Viewers are able to send questions for the speakers to review. Spokesman Ernie Ballard says LSU Police, Student Government, Student Affairs, and the Office of Emergency Preparedness will be featured in the speaking series.
Ballard says another issue they plan on discussing, is misinformation that has surfaced regarding serious crime cases. He says some parents and students have spread misinformation on social media. LSU plans on addressing how social media rumors happen.
Ballard said "parents should look for official LSU information and tips," something they'll further detail during the forum.
For a breakdown of LSU's 2022 crime log, click here.
Click here to join the meeting, or here for more information.
The meeting ID is 988 4867 0812. The meeting passcode is 988639. You can also call in to the meeting at (225) 263-2074.
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