By Megan Corum
In light of the recent purse-snatching and gun-brandishing on and near Lawrence’s campus, safety continues to remain a focus.
The Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell sent out two emails at the end of last week to keep the Lawrence community informed of what was happening.
Truesdell has been with Lawrence for over 20 years and said “never in that time had anything like this happened on the main campus.”
“A positive lesson out of these bad circumstances is students reporting things can make a difference,” she said. “I give our students a lot of credit for willing to get involved and be witnesses.”
“Reporting anything suspicious can be really helpful to the safety of everybody—the campus and the community,” she said.
“I really applaud the students who came forward and am really happy no one was injured,” Truesdell said.
Truesdell’s second email as well as an Appleton Post-Crescent article reported the arrest of the suspect on Sunday Jan. 1.
“In addition to the Thursday evening incident, the person is being held in jail regarding motor vehicle theft, two area convenience store robberies and another incident that occurred near campus on Saturday,” Truesdell’s all-campus email said, mentioning both the purse-snatching and showing a loaded gun to Lawrence Students.
An additional Post-Crescent article on Jan 2. revealed the identity of the suspect, 17-year-old Francis F. Lewi, as well as listed his official charges as “three counts of armed robbery, operating a vehicle without consent, carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.”
“Appleton is a very safe city but that doesn’t mean we’re a perfect world,” Truesdell said.
Lawrence’s approach to combating issues of this nature is detailed in the Lawrence Safety and Security Report, which Lawrence is required to release every year.
It details policies about safety, including requiring all visitors and students to follow state laws, as well as provides statistics on various crimes for the past 3 years, including murder, arson and hate crimes, none of which have happened on the Lawrence campus.