Anthony Denero, a Juniper Hall resident, was rushed to the hospital after being assaulted by three men attempting to break into a car, said Central Oregon Community College’s safety and security staff.
The assault occurred between 4 and 5 a.m. on Nov. 1 in the Juniper parking lot, and while COCC’s safety and security staff are currently investigating, the three suspects remain unidentified.
“I was just coming back from Halloween when I saw two individuals breaking into a car,” said Denero. “I approached them and someone from behind me blindsided me. As I was lying on the ground one came up and kicked me.”
This incident has been one of many at Juniper Hall since fall term started. Additional incidents include vehicle break-ins, possession and attempted sale of narcotics and a videotaping incident in the women’s bathroom.
“This is a very unusual first six weeks,” said Paul Wheeler, the Juniper Hall housing manager. “We had a few strangers wandering into hallways … wandering around intoxicated … We had an incident in a shower … One of our students lost control of his own behavior.”
After the assault, the Juniper Hall staff held a conference with the dorm residents to inform them of the recent incidents and to address concerns they had.
“People are concerned about their safety and security,” said Wheeler. “We need to address these things.”
The assault and its related incidents
Several incidents possibly involving the same unidentified men occurred before the Nov. 1 incident.
A dorm resident reported items missing from their room on Oct. 25; two vehicle break-ins were reported on Oct. 27, one had $475 in items stolen and the other had no items missing; and another possible vehicle theft occurred on Oct. 30, according to COCC’s incident log.
While the investigation is in progress, campus security encourages anyone with any information of the incident to come forward, said Jim Bennett, a security officer for COCC’s campus security.
Juniper Hall’s response
COCC faculty and administration addressed the residents about the incidents and listened to their concerns at the Juniper Hall conference.
“I apologize from the college,” said Gordon Price, COCC’s director of student life. “We want this place to be safe and secure. Incidents are happening all around campus.”
While campus security will be patrolling the area for suspicious activity, administration encourages students to keep an eye out as well.
“One thing we would like to see is: report this,” said Price. “Report what you see is not right and we’ll do something about it.”
Juniper Hall staff also sent out a letter and an email containing guidelines for dealing with future incidents and how COCC’s safety and security has increased patrol around Juniper Hall.
“We have increased our patrol around Juniper (Hall) substantially,” said Bennett.
Do students feel safe?
During the conference, faculty and administration asked the residents who among them felt safe, to which less than half of the residents raised their hands.
“I think it could get worse,” said a dorm resident. “I do not feel safe … Very few people feel safe.”
The dorm resident, whose car was also broken into, criticized Bend Patrol Services, an independently contracted security service which patrols the campus on the weekend.
“We asked them (Bend Patrol Services) if we could call Bend police,” said the resident. “They said, ‘No, we can take care of it. It will be fine.’”
Bend Patrol Service is contracted with COCC to patrol the campus on weekends and overnight. Nick Thompson of Bend Patrol explained that they contact the Police department right away; it is a part of the services they provide.
“We usually respond within minutes and contact Bend Police,” said Thompson. Campus Security and Bend Patrol are two separate services that are provided to the college.
With many events taking place over the first six weeks of the term, rumors have managed to surface at Juniper Hall among residents.
“I heard that someone had been raped last night,” said a Juniper Hall resident. One of the residents at the Juniper Hall meeting exclaimed that she heard that three girls had been raped.
There have been no reports of rape made to Campus Security in the last six weeks.
“Check your fact if you hear a rumor,” said Wheeler to the residents of Juniper Hall, “try to stop them from spreading it.”
Rumors are also spreading about descriptions of the three suspects.
The three suspects involved in the assault remain unidentified. If anyone has legitimate information on the suspects contact campus security, they may remain anonymous.
“The descriptions (of suspects) are so limited,” said Bennett. “It’s hard at this point to pinpoint specific descriptions.”
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