MOUNT VERNON — Officials at Mount Vernon Nazarene University said that allegations of a rape on campus last week are completely false.
According to Henry Spaulding, vice president of academic affairs, a female student was approached last Thursday while cleaning a stairwell in Founders Hall. An unknown male subject, believed not to be associated with MVNU, grabbed the woman’s elbow and scared her. According to the student, the man seemed disoriented, but did not assault or attack her.
“A security notice was sent out the next day encouraging students to use the buddy system,” Spaulding said.
That e-mail detailed safety tips in conjunction with September being Campus Safety Awareness Month.
Security cameras are located throughout campus and security officers are on heightened alert, according to Spaulding.
A second e-mail was sent to students, faculty and staff Wednesday as rumors of a rape swelled, on and off campus.
“These actions startled the student, she pulled away quickly, and left the stairwell. She was shaken, but not hurt. Please be aware of your surroundings, even on this very safe campus. There is no reason to believe that the male who approached her poses a threat to anyone else,” the e-mail stated.
No reports were filed with the Mount Vernon Police Department, but MVPD Chief Mike Merrilees said that was not uncommon.
“It depends on the person,” Merillees said. “It could have been a random act, but if they were in fear for their safety or that uncomfortable, we would have taken a report.”
Merillees said MVPD and MVNU security have a long history of successful collaboration.
The advancement of technology, including e-mail, has changed the way colleges and universities communicate with students.
“E-mail is a great feature that allows us to communicate with everyone within five minutes,” Spaulding said.
Currently there is no system in play that includes providing the same information to students’ families.