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Third Kutztown University assault reported on campus in less than a week, police say

By 69 News, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 14 2013 08:53:00 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 15 2013 05:06:03 AM CDT

KU stepping up security after campus crimes

MAXATAWNY TWP., Pa. -

The third reported assault of Kutztown University student in less than a week is bringing about some changes in security on campus.

The latest assault happened around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday in the Bell Plaza area, between Old Main and the administration building.

In an alert sent to students, officials said a victim was assaulted from behind by two black men. The victim fought back, and during the confrontation, one of the assailants pulled a knife before both fled into the borough, officials said.

"Three assaults within the past week, it's so different for out here. Kutztown isn't used to that," said Mike Vonomo, a student.

"It's just unfortunate that it's happened," said Michael Oleniacz, another student.

In a letter to the campus community Thursday, university President F. Javier Cevallos expressed his concern about university safety and urged students, faculty and staff to take proper precautions.

"We will be increasing security patrols on campus beginning tonight and are looking into long-term security improvements, as well," said Cevallos. "As a campus community, we cannot tolerate this behavior. We must work together to reclaim our campus and our personal safety."

Cevallos encouraged students to walk together in groups or, if alone, to use the campus police escort service.

The chair of the student government's safety committee, Nicholas Imbessi wants the school to do even more.

He's asking for extra shuttle bus services so students don't have to walk across campus, increased security cameras and extra lighting.

"It's scary. It's really scary, said student Toye Akinjiola. "I've been here for four years, and the last three years have been safer for sure."

Just last week, officials said three armed men stormed into a dorm room in Deatrick Hall and assaulted one of two students inside.

Another student reported being assaulted outside Dixon Hall on Sunday, said police, who have not determined whether the three incidents are connected.

"I have met with my senior staff and we have developed a strict plan to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice," Cevallos said. "Campus police are working closely with the Pennsylvania State Police to actively investigate the situation."

Campus police currently employ 14 full-time officers. The university is planning to hire two additional officers, officials said.

In the meantime, anyone with information about any of the incidents is asked to contact university police at 610-683-4001.

Confidential information can be given by dialing 610-683-TIPS or 610-683-8477. Of campus, anonymous tips can be passed along to Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.

The crime stoppers group is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.