By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Bowling Green State University is again grappling with more accusations of sexual assault on campus.
President Mary Ellen Mazey in a statement to the campus community said that the suspected assaults happened on Aug. 20 and Aug. 26 in Centennial Hall and the Greek Village.
University Spokesman Dave Kielmeyer said that the Aug. 20 incident was reported on that day, and the Aug. 26 incident was reported on Aug. 28.
Mazey wrote: “The initial investigations have revealed that the alleged assailant in both reported incidents was the same individual. To help ensure the safety of the campus community, the alleged assailant, a student, has been suspended from the University and barred from campus pending the outcome of the investigations. Because of privacy laws and the ongoing investigations, we are unable to share any additional details at this time.”
The incidents involved two different victims.
Kielmeyer said that “when the connection between the two incidents became apparent we took immediate action” against the alleged assailant.
The incidents are being investigated by the BGSU campus police and the dean of students office.
The university was rocked last spring by demonstrations over the way it handled sexual assault. Over the summer a task force to study the issue was convened and its recommendations were accepted by the administration at the beginning of the semester. “We are implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual Assault to improve our reporting, investigation and adjudication processes to ensure we are empathetic, thorough, fair and respectful.”
The new procedures for handling reports of sexual assault are being implemented in these cases, Kielmeyer said. Specifically the university has one administrator handling taking the initial report and supporting the victim, another in charge of the investigation, and another person will adjudicate the incident.
Kielmeyer said while it was disappointing that two incidents happened so early in the semester, it is heartening that they were reported. “If incidents happen we want to know about them. It’s moving toward that culture of reporting which is positive in the long term.”
He said that as the investigation progresses, the university “will be as transparent as possible.”
Mazey concluded her statement by urging students and others on campus to be vigilant.
“One sexual assault on our campus is too many. We are committed to enhancing our prevention and care efforts and we need your help. Continue to be aware and don’t be a bystander. If you see someone who may be at risk and are concerned about the situation, step in and safely intervene, or get help. As a community, we must all work together to prevent sexual assault.
“I know it is extremely difficult, but I encourage you to report all incidents of sexual assault and misconduct. Notify the BGSU Police or the Office of the Dean of Students, or talk to your hall director or resident advisor. Tell us, so we can take action.”