Around 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 an adjunct faculty member from Pacific University’s School of Dental Hygiene Studies on the Hillsboro campus was preparing to enter her car when she was approached by a man demanding she get away from the car. The faculty member complied and the perpetrator drove off. Campus Public Safety (CPS) and the Hillsboro police responded to the incident and eventually tracked down the perpetrator.
The faculty member was not physically injured and the culprit was arrested. President Lesley Hallick sent out an e-mail to students and staff where she reiterated that “incidents like these are rare, remember that we all have a part keeping our university community safe. Please continue to be alert and aware of your surroundings, both at our locations and in the nearby vicinities and do not hesitate to call CPS or 911 immediately if you are a victim of a crime or if you witness criminal activity.” Lead CPS Officer Jerry Rice said that this is the first of any incident of the sort on the Hillsboro campus. According to Rice, it is possible that if the faculty member could have defended herself in some way, that this incident may have turned out differently.
Junior Bailey Cordell is one of many students who frequently commutes to campus and said this incident was alarming, especially as a young woman. “I wouldn’t say I know how to defend myself,” Cordell said. “But I always carry pepper spray with me. If I didn’t though, my mom told me to put my keys in between my fingers, like brass knuckles.”
Rice said some other ways to be prepared for an incident like this is to “be aware of your surroundings and if possible, travel with two or more people or call CPS for an escort. Do not wear earbuds. If people choose to carry pepper spray or other legal self-defense items they need to know how to use them, however, in this incident complying with the demands of the suspect was the best course of action,” Rice said.