Students work to prevent sex assaults at GVSU

GVSU students march to stand up against sexual assault. (File)

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A problem that developed during the start of the 2016 school year at Grand Valley State University has resurfaced on campus. A woman was reportedly sexually assaulted over the weekend, just days into the new semester.

In an alert to students Monday, the Grand Valley Police Department said it happened near the Hoobler and Frey living centers on the northeast side of the Allendale campus sometime between 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The person who reported the incident said a group of about five men approached a lone woman and that one of the men assaulted her.

On Tuesday, GVSU officials would only classify the incident as ‘inappropriate touching.’

Campus police say the group of men ran off heading southwest after it happened. It wasn’t reported to police until Monday evening. Anyone with information about what happened is asked to call campus police at 616.331.3255.

The report comes a year after four sexual assaults were reported just off campus within a month. Those cases prompted a major response: upped security and added street lights in the problem areas, a town hall meeting, student marches through campus and even a new team formed to review sexual assault allegations.

The latest report has students concerned.

“We’re very heartbroken and very discouraged and angry,” GVSU junior Michelle Roldan told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.

Roldan and a handful of other students stood under the campus clock tower Tuesday afternoon, asking others to sign up and take a pledge to say something if they see something suspicious.

“It’s not just a myth, it’s not just like it happens every once in a while. It’s very common,” Roldan said of campus sexual assaults.

She’s a member of a new team just formed this year, part of a national organization called ‘It’s On Us.’

The group is one of several on campus advocating for women’s rights and for sexual assault awareness.

“Some of my team is made up of survivors themselves and us telling our stories,” Roldan said. “I think it’s very important.”

The university urged victims of sexual assault to call police, seek medical care right away and call someone to support them. The GVSU Women’s Center victim advocate can be reached at 616.331.2748.

>>Online: GVSU Victim’s Rights and Options