ESTERO, Fla. — The Lee County Sheriffs Office is investigating a report of sexual assault on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University.
“I was definitely shocked when I saw that...there is an element of fear but at the same time we have to be careful, ” said Madison Frank.
Campus police received a call around 11 pm Tuesday evening, a student in the South Village resident halls met up with a person from a dating app and was allegedly sexually assaulted.
The suspect is not believed to be affiliated with the university.
“Right now we have a policy in that we are not supposed to bring people who don’t go here, for COVID reasons, ” said Allison Kesler.
The school is taking safety precautions after seeing an increase in harassment cases from students meeting people through dating apps.
“We try to take safety on campus very seriously and we have a lot of measures in place to keep students and faculty safe, ” said Community Outreach and Prevention Officer, Myles Kittelson.
FGCU provides these tips when using online dating apps.
- Don’t provide too much personal information
- Check out the other person on social media
- Meet in a public place
- Tell a friend of your plan or have a friend present (bystander intervention)
- Don’t send nude photographs
The university also instilling Title X, Prevention, and wellness courses into the freshman curriculum.
“All freshmen are required to pass three courses on alcohol, drugs, and sexual abuse, and if you don’t pass these classes then they put a hold on your classes, ” said Dalton Weihirauch.
Madison Frank highlights the extra safety precautions she takes on campus.
“I always make sure if I'm going alone, which is very rare, that I have someone tracking my location. We have special codes and keys to get into each hallway and the dorms and stuff, I definitely feel safe, ” said Frank.
Austin Spence is working to raise awareness of sexual assault, noting “if you see something say something.”
“I think the main thing is being informed that this is happening to raise awareness that it can happen, ” said Spence.
Campus police say they are working to ensure the safety of its students, urging them to download the Guardian Eagle Safety app which allows quick and easy access to officers in case of an emergency.