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Incidents on Beall Ave. prompt panel on safety

The most recent incident is being investigated as a hate crime in conjunction with the Wooster Police Department

Waverly Hart
News Editor

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 9:08 p.m., a ceramic coffee mug was thrown by a driver on Beall Ave. at a College of Wooster student who was identified as Juwan Shabazz ’19.

Shabazz was diagnosed with a mild concussion but is recovering well.

“I will no longer pretend what this person did was [okay], that it is simply a situation that is a part of life. A stance needs to be taken and a change not only needs to occur on my campus but in all communities,” Shabazz stated in a Facebook post, in which he also said that he believed the incident was part of a much bigger problem.

In addition to throwing a mug, the individual also yelled a racial slur, specifically the n-word, at Shabazz. In an email to the campus, President Bolton confirmed that the incident was being investigated as a hate crime.

“Events such as these do not impact only those who are explicitly targeted, but also ripple out to affect many more whose sense of security is undermined,” Bolton said in her email. “This is appalling and completely unacceptable. All students, staff and faculty have an absolute right to be physically safe on campus.”

Joe Kirk, the associate director of Security and Protective Services (SPS), said that security and the Wooster Police Department (WPD) have determined this event to be related to the previous paintball and BB gun incidents, based on the car involved in each. Bolton confirmed this in her email.

In response to these and other incidents of harassment and violence on Beall Ave., faculty and students gathered in the Lowry Pit on Monday, Dec. 4 to discuss The College of Wooster’s campus environment and security. At the meeting, students asked questions to the faculty regarding the recent incidents on Beall Ave., the relationship students have with SPS and other campus security related topics.

At the meeting, Steve Glick, the director of SPS, advised students to walk facing traffic and be aware of their surroundings. Additionally, he would like students to report any instances that seem unusual to them.

“If you see something that doesn’t look right, that looks suspicious, call [SPS] and we’ll look into it,” Glick said. “The quicker we get the information, the better chance we have of getting the person who did it.” Brown said that the College has put certain preventative measures in place, such as security cameras on Beall and the new program, “Bridging Along Beall Avenue: Living Room Conversations to Connect Campus and Community.” They are also considering improved lighting on the sides of the road.

Despite Glick’s urging to call SPS in a suspicious situation, one of the students at the panel brought up the adverse relationship that exists between students and campus security. The student suggested that the drug and alcohol policy at the College, and specifically the requirement of calling in WPD if drugs are found in a student’s room, deter students from contacting SPS.

“What we do, our policies, are required by law,” Kirk said. “We have no personal interest in having an ill will with students… What we’re trying to find is how we balance our relationship with students and the job we have to do.”

Nathan Fein, the director of residence life, added that the medical amnesty policy at the College encourages and provides a safe environment for students to call security for their peers.

“What’s really scary to me is the number of students we find passed out in a bathroom,” Fein stated. “We want you all to help each other; we want you to provide assistance.”

Lori Makin-Byrd, the Title IX coordinator at the College, echoes this call for students to reach out to faculty and staff.

“If we don’t know about it, we don’t have any ability to respond to it,” Makin-Byrd stated. “Please over-communicate with us, rather than under-communicate.”

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