By Kaylin Young
While some students use their schools’ study lounges to prep for finals, students in the Chemistry building are avoiding just that while the search for a male flasher continues.
Last month, students reported a black male in his mid-thirties exposing and pleasuring himself in the Chemistry lounge. After campus police were called to the scene, no action was taken by the department of public safety. Juniors Monique Harvey and Amahni Wall were two of the students in the lounge when the male was spotted.
Harvey and Wall reported the incident to campus police, the Title IX office, Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick and to the Metropolitan Police. Their report to the Metropolitan Police is what finally gave the situation proper attention. Three weeks after the initial incident, a crime report was sent out.
Today, Harvey has found a new place to study and is adamant about ensuring all students feel safe on campus. Harvey thinks it is most important for students to report any unsafe or suspicious incidents to Metro police, not just campus police.
“Do not call Howard police first because metro police will make sure Howard is doing what they have to do,” said Harvey.
Officers of Howard’s campus police spoke on a safety panel last week hosted by the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Beta Chapter. Officers specifically discouraged students from doing this when asked about preventative measures students should take when encountering suspicious behavior on campus.
“Call campus police right away and we will have officers out in minutes if not seconds of the report,” they said.
Harvey thinks there’s a bigger reason as to why Howard police don’t want Metro police getting involved.
“The reason campus police says ‘don’t call metro’ is because they don’t want people knowing what’s really going on. They don’t want news coverage on the amount of rape cases on campus or real issues,” she said.
Besides the crime alert, campus police has not taken any other warning or precautious measures to ensure student safety regarding the male flasher incident. Harvey has heard about similar incidents from other students in the chemistry and engineering building. Yet, the male has not be identified, found or even searched for by campus police. The same day the crime alert was sent out, former Howard Chief of Police Brian Jordan submitted his letter of resignation.
Harvey believes real change will come from the top, starting with the police chief. “I would be interested to see who they replace with the police chief. I think issues probably come from bad leadership,” she said.
Students asked the officers about what campus police does to ensure the safety of girls on campus.
“When we patrol the campus at night, if we see a girl or group of girls walking down the street, we’ll describe the girls on the radio and the direction they’re headed. The police cars stationed at different streets will look out and report back when they’ve reached their destination,” they said.
Harvey’s end goal is safety for other students.
“I just want people who have been a victim of sexual crime, and who haven’t had campus police do anything, get the justice they deserve,” Harvey said. “Don’t be scared to tell other people what’s happening.”
As the semester ends, hopefully the summer will be a good time for Howard police to come up with a different plan of action to better protect students from incidents like this in the future.