Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am writing to update you on the University of Florida's continuing response to recent reports of assaults on female students and to urge everyone in our community to take every precaution for their safety and that of others.
In the most recent case, a woman was tackled on campus Sunday night near the McCarty Hall complex. Although the woman fought off the attacker and was not seriously injured, it was the fourth such incident involving a woman walking alone after dark assaulted by a suspect fitting a similar description. Two of the other victims were also not seriously injured, but the victim of the first incident on August 30 was beaten.
We are putting all our support behind our local law enforcement community as officers seek to make an arrest. As the investigation continues, the UF Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Santa Fe College Police Department are devoting every resource to minimizing the danger to the UF community:
- UFPD is expanding its night patrol force with the addition of 12 to 14 officers.
- Police officers will increase their presence across campus with focus in busy nighttime areas such as the Reitz Union, UF libraries and sorority row.
- UF is expanding its student campus escort service, the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, or SNAP, sponsored by UF Student Government.
- Starting tonight, a walking patrol of volunteer UF students will accompany other students as they travel across campus.
- Discussions are underway to extend the hours of operation for Later Gator bus service providing additional nighttime service between downtown Gainesville and the UF campus.
Here are some tips to keep in mind: Always walk in groups. Remain in well-lit areas. Be alert. Yell or otherwise call attention to yourself if you feel threatened, and call 9-1-1 to report any suspicious activity. Additionally, faculty may help students stay safe by allowing a couple of minutes of class time so students can arrange groups to go to their next destination. For other tips, please visit http://www.police.ufl.edu/community-services/safety-tips.
Students can reach the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, available between 6:30 p.m. and 3 a.m., at 392-SNAP or by downloading the SNAP safety app. Students can also download TapShield, a safety app that calls police with one touch of a button. Parents or anyone with questions or concerns may call the Dean of Students Office at 352-392-1261. Also, a rumor hotline has been established at 1-866-UF-FACTS. Updates will be posted at UF's home page at www.ufl.edu.
As the members of our law enforcement community work to make an arrest, I hope you will join me in keeping the threat to a minimum by remaining alert to your safety and the safety of those around you.
As UFPD Chief Linda Stump said today in an afternoon news conference, in our college community, "It is all for one and one for all." By alerting our law enforcement officers of any suspicious behavior or possible threats, and by looking out for ourselves and each other, we can end this danger to our community.