By Alyssa Wilson, Hunter Epperson & Rylee McDonal
The University of Lynchburg campus was buzzing this weekend after an email on Friday, Aug. 27, from Dean Caifano, the deputy director of campus safety and security, indicating that students should be cautious at social gatherings.
The email which was sent to all undergraduate and graduate students stated, “Campus Safety and Security Office had received unconfirmed reports of illegal substances being placed in drinks of unsuspecting persons at social gatherings on campus […] commonly known as”roofies “ or”date raped drugs.”
In a follow-up interview with the Critograph, Caifano said, “ I like to think that from my perspective we’re going to air on the side of caution and we’re going to inform our students. It’s all part of being transparent and communicating and making sure we are doing everything we can to make our students safe. I mean that quite seriously and that’s why I did what I did.”
While there is no specification of where and when the incident took place or the students involved, there is an ongoing investigation into the incident.
Junior, Summer Campbell said, “With the recent email that was sent out about the substance (date rape drugs) it has made me a little aprehensive, a little bit nervous, and ‘I don’t really know whats going on with that’. As well as, sometimes when I’m walking home to Westover, when they put in the new scoreboard, there is a light that they took out and the two lights that connect to it are not on at night. So that makes me feel not as safe.”
While Rebecca Carey said, “I feel safe on campus for the most part. It is very lit up at night, so it’s nice, and it seems like there’s a lot of good people.”
Amanda McGovern, Title XI director said, “ I just want to use the opportunity to remind students that giving illegal drugs to other students is a violation of the student conduct code. Putting illegal drugs into someone’s drink even if it is not done in an attempt to perpetuate a sexual assault, is still a violation of University policy. If it is done in an attempt to commit a sexual assault or in conjunction with the commission of a sexual assault, it is a violation of the Interpersonal Misconduct Policy and carries the most extreme consequences, including suspension or expulsion from the University. I hope that students will report any concerns to Campus Safety and Security and/or the Lynchburg Police Department so that those concerns can be investigated immediately.”
Drinking and partying with friends is an integral part of the college experience however, here are some tips you and your friends can use to stay safe at parties.
- B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bottle)
Having to buy your own alcohol seems like a drag because it requires you to use your own money, and the sound of free alcohol sounds pleasing to the ears, but buying your own alcohol reduces your chances of having your drinks “spiked”. This even includes water or other alcohol free beverages.
- Open your own container
Many of the times pre-opened containers sound like a real catch. Not having to open your own can or bottle, and it is easier to just drink it, but pre-opened containers can allow people to spike the drink prior to you drinking it. Not to mention, while the server may not have spiked it, a pre-opened container can allow someone else to spike it. My advice is to always open your own container or have a friend open it in front of you. If the seal has been cracked or opened, just throw it away. This also goes for drinks that do not contain alcohol.
- Always go to parties with friends
Going to parties with friends is a great way to reduce the chances. If you go to parties with friends, always have a friend hold your drink if you go to the bathroom or plan to sit your drink down. This reduces your chances of leaving your drink unoccupied and unwatched.
- Never drink from sports coolers or sports containers
Oftentimes at college parties, some people will make “homemade jungle juice.” Sadly, this gives people the opportunity to spike the drinks with drugs. If you are in this situation, decline to drink from it and bring your own beverage/alcohol. While most of the time these coolers are filled with alcohol, they can also be filled with water.
- Always go with at least one friend who is sober.
Like mentioned above, going with a friend can help reduce your chances of getting drugged, but having a sober friend is better. Having a sober friend can help in times of crises, such as driving you to the emergency room, if something was to happen. A sober friend will be able to consciously know the details of the event if something was to happen.
- Know the signs of date rape drugs
While some date rape drugs might not have symptoms besides making the person blackout, always know the signs and how to spot if someone has been drugged. Signs and symptoms of popular date-rape drugs can be found here. http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/womenshealth/factsheets/date.htm. Knowing the signs or how to spot the signs could help save the victim or yourself.
- Set a limit for yourself or your friends
Sometimes we drink more than we plan to, increasing our chances of getting drunk. Setting a limit for you or your friends can help protect you from getting too intoxicated. If someone is pressuring you into drinking more than you plan, say no or leave the situation (if you can).
- Know who to contact if something goes wrong
Whether it is a friend, a family member, or a professional, always have someone you can contact. Knowing who to contact can help you or withdraw you from a situation if something goes wrong, such as being drugged. Campus security hotline phone number is 434.544.5555, 866.943.5787, or call 911 ASAP.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can:
- Call Campus security hotline 434.544.5555 or 866.943.5787
- Call 911
- Go to the emergency room at Lynchburg General Hospital (1901 Tate Springs Rd, Lynchburg, VA 24501)
- Report a bias incident click here or contact Dr. Robert L. Canida, II, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact Amanda McGovern email@example.com or (434) 544-8482 or the Office of Equity and Inclusion located on the second floor of Drysdale Student Center across from Center for Community Engagement and near Westover Room.
- Go to Health and Counseling services located on the first floor of Hundley Hall.