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Oakwood University responds to students’ frustrations over handling of sexual assault reports

The Oakwood University president states that the school will evaluate current campus safety and security measures and support services.

Posted: Sep 6, 2019 6:22 PM
Updated: Sep 7, 2019 9:43 AM

The president of Oakwood University in Huntsville says changes could be coming to campus security.

It comes after students accused the private school of not properly handling reports of sexual assault.

A student at Oakwood University said the school is not doing enough to help students who report sexual assaults. She said students are so frustrated, they've been bombarding Twitter with their comments.

The student said she doesn't want to be identified out of fear of retaliation.

"I generally feel like they've had enough time to address this properly and they just sweep these problems under the rug and we are getting to the point where we are now on a media platform trying to seek help in that way," she said.

She said she's taking this semester off as she recovers from health problems, but she says it is important for her to speak out.

"I am not the only one that feels this way. There are plenty of females who feel this way and do not share publicly because they feel alone or they don't have a voice," she said.

WAAY 31 noticed #OUMeToo on Twitter and we started asking questions. Students told us the school is either covering up reports or not investigating them.

WAAY 31 asked the university how many sexual assault reports have been made this year on campus, telling us they didn't have that number. However, the university urges all students to report any allegations to the Title IX office.

The student tells WAAY 31, "Feel like I have been silenced when I have been wronged. Rules are rules wherever you go, but when you have certain events that take place on someone else's property, there's certain measures you need to take to make sure they're handled."

Huntsville police say they have two reports of off-campus assaults. One happened in January and was reported in May, but police closed that case for lack of evidence. A case that allegedly happened in 2006 is still open.

On Friday afternoon, the university president issued a statement saying they will do justice for their students and staff that accuse someone of a Title IX violation.

President Leslie Pollard stated, "I have also directed university leadership to evaluate our current campus safety and security measures and our support services."

"This is university. This is school. We should be safe, not because we pay money, but because that's the right thing to do," the student said.

We made an open records request with Huntsville police to review the reports on the two sexual assault allegations, but we are still waiting to see the reports.

WAAY 31 also reached out to Oakwood University's public safety office, and we are still waiting to hear back.

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