Temple and Philadelphia Police remain tight-lipped about the sexual assault that occurred the evening of Nov. 1 in Anderson Hall, but some details have been confirmed since the first emergency notification was sent late that night.
Carl Bittenbender, Temple’s executive director of Campus Safety Services confirmed that Temple Police are working closely with the Philadelphia Police Department in the investigation of the incident. According to the Philadelphia Police public affairs division, the special victims unit is handling the majority of the case.
The description, time and location of the assault have been confirmed, but Bittenbender said he could not release any further details about the attack other than that it was not a rape.
“People hear ‘sexual assault’ and think ‘rape,'” he said. “This was not a rape to the best of my knowledge.”
He is confident an arrest will be made and said Campus Safety officials are currently looking to improve security in buildings, especially Anderson and Gladfelter halls by possibly installing more cameras, hiring more personnel, and making some physical improvements in the buildings.
Students have noticed the tighter security on campus since the assault, in the form of stricter ID checks in some buildings and increased security guard presence. But some students said they are skeptical about how much safer they really are.
“I really don’t feel safer because I feel like people can sneak into buildings anyway,” said senior history and economics major Ethan Soast-Gerhart. “They can wait by back doors for somebody to come out and then just go in that way, so I feel that carding doesn’t really make a difference.”
A lot of students seemed shocked that security was suddenly tightened.
“It takes an assault to make them check IDs. I think that’s illogical. You either have [security] or you don’t,” senior elementary education major Rachel DiGregorio said.
Undeclared freshman Jake Siemiarowski said his ID was checked three times between the doors in Anderson closest to the outdoor dining area on 12th Street and the lobby where the elevators are.
“I figured something happened,” he said. “Then I saw the Owl Alerts posted in all the buildings.”
A detective from the PPD Special Investigations Unit who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he, like Bittenbender, is confident the perpetrator of this assault will be arrested. He also said he believed the assailant was not a Temple student.
Bittenbender said that though security is a community responsibility, he took this incident personally.
“I want to do everything in my power to make sure that we don’t have another incident like it,” he said.
Morgan A. Zalot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.