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Campus on alert

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The University of Calgary has apologized for not notifying students sooner of two assaults on two female students early Sat., Oct. 25.

In an e-mail to all students, the university wrote that a recent security alert pertaining to the assaults was not communicated to the university community in a "timely way." Associate Vice-President Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson is unsure why there was a delay but suggests the e-mail from Campus Security was sent to her but was not forwarded to students because her and her office "didn't know it was there to communicate."

"We should have sent an alert on the day or the next day," explained Dr. Patterson, adding the university takes safety seriously.

As a result, Campus Security will now issue security alerts directly to the university community within four hours of an event without sending it through Dr. Patterson's office. Students' Union President Jayna Gilchrist believes the apology was necessary and Campus Security's new measure will help security. Gilchrist added security could always be improved.

"This is a prime example of how things such as Campus Security should not be part of budget cuts," stated Gilchrist.

Early Sat., Oct. 25 in Lot 10 near campus family housing, a man approached a female student as she was grabbing her notebook from her car. The suspect pushed her into the vehicle and attempted to push himself onto her. The student kicked him.

"She stopped him by kicking him in the abdomen," said Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz. "He backed off, assuming he was attracting attention."

Fritz also said another female student notified Campus Security Mon., Oct. 27 and unlike the first female student, she was with threatened with an unseen gun during the same time between 7:30 a.m. and 7:41 a.m. Saturday morning by the same suspect.

The offender was described as a black male in his early to mid-30s. He's 5ïz´8 to 5ïz´10, weighing 200 pounds and is slightly overweight. He is bald or has very short hair with no facial hair. He was wearing a grey collared shirt with grey pants.

His vehicle is described as a late model silver PT Cruiser with tinted side and rear windows. It's in clean and good condition with Alberta license plates.

As well, a third individual, a visitor to campus, reported the same suspect approached the visitor at 7:20 a.m., shortly before the other incidents. The suspect asked the visitor for directions and then left the area.

"If at all possible, walk around in the buddy system," advised Fritz. "When you park your vehicle, park under a street lamp. Park where regular members of the public are in the area. Use the Safewalk program. Heads up and look around, not concentrating on exams."

Fritz hopes the suspect doesn't victimize anyone else.

"It's extremely worrisome it's happening on campus," said Fritz. "People are coming on campus, looking for victims."

The university urged students in its security alert to use Safewalk and has recently hired four new full-time and four new part-time security officers.

If you have any information on the suspect, contact Campus Security at 220-5333 or Calgary Police 266-1234. To use Safewalk, contact them at 220-5333.

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