A Berkeley College senior said she was assaulted March 17 in the Yale Bookstore walkway, but managed to avoid physical harm after she fought off her attacker.
The senior, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was leaving the area encircled by Ezra Stiles and Morse colleges and the bookstore for main campus when she noticed a man following her. The man, who she said appeared drunk and did not look like a Yale student, approached her at around 11:40 p.m. as she was walking underneath the bookstore overhang toward Broadway.
The student, who filed an official police report, said she did not believe the Yale police had identified a suspect. Yale Police Lt. Michael Patten declined to comment and deferred matters to the Office of Public Affairs.
Spokesman Tom Violante confirmed that no arrests had been made.
“The matter is under investigation still,” Violante said.
The victim, who was walking alone, was thrown to the ground by her assailant, who fled the scene after the senior started screaming, according to an e-mail sent by Ezra Stiles Master Traugott Lawler to students in the residential college on March 22.
“Nothing actually happened but it did get to the point where I had to fight him off,” the senior said.
On April 16, nearly a month after the incident, Yale Police Chief James Perrotti sent an e-mail to all Yale undergraduates about the incident in which he mentioned the assault and reminded students to use the security measures provided by the University.
“We urge you to be attentive to your safety as you travel about campus at night,” Perrotti said.
The senior, however, said she was surprised it took Yale police a month to publicize the incident. She added that while sexual assault cases do require more secrecy because of confidentiality concerns, police should not hesitate to share certain information with the community.
“When an incident like this happens, there should be an instant campus awareness of this,” she said. “People need to know.”
The senior said she was disappointed with other aspects of the way police and University security handled the report as well.
“I’m a little disappointed at how long it took for this incident to be processed by Yale,” she said. “It highlights how back up protocol for incidents like this is lacking.”
Berkeley College Master John Rogers said he was shocked when he first learned of the incident. Yet he and Berkeley Dean George Levesque did not send an e-mail to members of the college.
“We pushed for a central police notification of students,” Rogers said, referring to the e-mail Perrotti eventually sent. “The dean and I felt that this isn’t a college matter, it’s a safety matter.”
While Perrotti said in his e-mail that there had been “no further incidents,” the senior, who used 2-WALK both before and after the incident, said it highlighted safety concerns on campus.
As someone who has heard nearly four years’ worth of security speeches on campus, the victim said she walked in groups every time except when the incident occurred.
“This is always the type of stuff you hear about and don’t think will happen to you, let alone right on campus,” she said.
She said people must be aware of incidents such as this one in order to prevent similar situations.
“I’m a cautious person generally and I know other people don’t take the same precautions,” she said. “If you’re a woman, you still can’t walk alone at night.”