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Campus security updates

Emily Passey

Appleton police may have found a possible lead for the attacker in a nearby assault last month. In early September, a 19-year-old woman was jogging at about 5:30 a.m. on the Newberry Trail between East John Street and Telulah Park when she was suddenly attacked. According to reports from the Appleton Post-Crescent, a man ran up to the woman from behind, passed her, stopped, and grabbed her by placing his left hand over her mouth and his right hand on her shoulder. The woman bit his left hand, screamed and escaped.
A search warrant filed recently in the Outagamie County Circuit Court showed that police suspect a 38-year-old Appleton man may have been responsible for the assault. The suspect was involved in a similar incident in 2001 in the same area involving a Lawrence University student. He was convicted of disorderly conduct and fined. The most recent victim wishes to remain anonymous.
Sgt. John DeWall from the Appleton Police Department says they are continuing to investigate the recent incident. “We are following up on any leads that come forth,” DeWall states. For now, Lawrence students and anyone using the trail should be aware of the assault. DeWall suggests that those venturing out late at night or in the early morning should stay in well-lit areas, carry a cell phone or noisemaker, and remember safety in numbers.
Here on the Lawrence campus there have been reports of strange activity as well. On Saturday, October 1st, student Betsy Winter was working in the admissions office when an older man came in, questioning her about how he could get someone to take him on a tour of the school. Says Winter, “He said something about potentially being a financial benefactor to the school, so who was I to tell him no?”
Winter made light of the situation to her supervisor. After being kindly asked to leave, the man left, saying he would be back. He apparently had been hanging around campus all day, going so far as to approach a tour guide while she was working. Security had told her to watch out for the man after he approached her.
John Meyer, security supervisor at Lawrence, says this incident is the first of its kind that he has seen on campus. Meyer states that he is confident the man will not be back and that he “never really posed a threat.”
Sophomore Tiffany Mendoza had her own strange experience on campus recently. Returning home from the conservatory at around 10 p.m. one evening, Mendoza was approached by a “creepy looking” man. He asked her a question and continued coming in her direction, but ignoring him, Mendoza headed for the lights of Main Hall. Mendoza reports that she felt shaken but didn’t feel the need to report her incident to security. Of the warnings to students regarding the Newberry Trail attack, she says she “didn’t think too much about it,” noting that it had not changed her nighttime walking habits.
Although Lawrence and the surrounding Appleton community are known for their generally safe atmospheres, the Newberry Trail events and recent encounters are perhaps a reminder to students of the potential threats to students’ safety. Mendoza echoes DeWall’s warnings to students: “Be safe; anything can happen.