After a several assaults on the Texas Tech Campus Saturday, students expressed concerns about their safety on campus to EverythingLubbock.com.
Students received an alert via email on Saturday just before midnight explaining that three separate instances of on-campus assault occurred over a period of an hour and a half, and campus police believe that the same assailants were involved in all three attacks.
The alert explained that four college aged black men, who were possibly on foot and/or in a white or silver car, attacked 3 separate Texas Tech students on campus, outside. Police said that the victims were punched and received moderate injuries.
“It’s kind of surprising because– I think [the assaults were] at night– usually I thought they had people patrolling making sure everyone was safe and stuff so it was kind of shocking that a big old fight happened and no one was there to stop it,” said TTU student Cassie Gomez.
Gomez had also received an alert for the reported on campus arsons the week prior, and she said the assaults concern her even more than the arsons.
“It’s definitely concerning,” said TTU sophomore Chase Deases of the assaults on Saturday. “Because we have a really great campus here and it’s really beautiful and the idea of not being able to walk around our own campus is really terrifying. I don’t personally live on campus, so I’m at home at night and I don’t have to worry about being hurt or mugged, but the idea that college students here– and not just here because it’s happened in other places– can’t walk around their own campuses without being scared of being assaulted or calling their friends to check up on them. It’s disturbing and it kind of takes away from the experience of living in a dorm and living on campus.”
Deases referenced the student at UT Austin who was killed last month, and wondered if assaults like the ones at TTU on Saturday could lead to more violence.
“Random acts of violence like this can turn into much bigger things, and that terrifies me because the idea that I can walk on campus and just be shot is unearthing,” he said. “And you don’t want to walk around campus anymore and it makes you less involved in the school and less involved in general.”
Texas Tech first year student Tori Hopkins said that the arsons and the assaults are just some of the crimes she’s heard about while living on campus.
“It is concerning because I live on campus and all of these things have happened on campus pretty close to where I live and where I stay,” she said.
Tori Hopkins said these assaults are even more upsetting given that another assault occurred several months earlier in the parking lot she uses.
Hopkins lives on campus and said this criminal activity makes her concerned about coming home at night. But she would also like to see TTU increase on-campus patrols and presence of the blue-light posts.
Gomez pointed out that campus police patrolling is especially important, because in times of crisis even the blue lights may be hard to access.
“But whenever you think about it, what if someone’s like running at you or coming towards you, you can’t just lstand there, and say hold up, let me call the police real quick and run off,” Gomez said.
As a first year student who lives on campus, Gomez said she feels especially concerned that future attackers could target underclassmen like herself. Hopkins agreed.
“I work at night and when I get home I get in late, and my parking lot is usually full so I have to park in the parking lot across campus and I have to walk across and that’s a little nerve wracking to me,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins tries to be vigilant when she walks home and have a plan for self-defense, she recommends that other students do the same.
Deases wished he had more direction from Texas Tech about the specifics of the assault and what students should be doing to protect themselves.
“The email provides a lot of general information and not a lot of specifics, of like what to look out for,” said Deases. “It just kind of says ‘this happened,’ and you’re just like OK this happened, but what do I do about it? There’s no preventative tips, there’s nothing to help us be more safe.”
The last sentences of the alert email read:
“The Texas Tech Police Department cannot currently confirm there is any continuing threat to the campus community. However, campus residents are encouraged to remain vigilant of their surroundings and to immediately report suspicious activity by utilizing emergency blue phones, calling 9-911 from campus landlines, 911 from cellular phones, or for non-emergencies by calling 806-742-3931 or 806-743-2000.”
Texas Tech University’s Managing Director of Communications, Chris Cook, said that Texas Tech Police are still investigating this case and that as of Monday afternoon, Cook’s office had not heard of any arrests being made in relation to this case.
EverythingLubbock.com made multiple calls to Texas Tech Police but we have yet to hear back from them.