Howard University crime town hall addresses sexual assault
Sunday afternoon about 60 students attended a town hall meeting about security at Howard University. The meeting came after a recent report of a sexual assault inside a campus dorm.
Authorities say a student was sexually assualted inside Bethune Residence Complex Friday afternoon.
Nineteen-year old Demcarco Myles, who is not a student, has been charged in the attack. He's also been charged in a stabbing and attempted sexual assault that allegedly happened a week earlier at the Rhode Island Row Apartments in Northeast.
Campus security told ABC7 Sunday afternoon's meeting was closed to the media. Students who were inside tell us officials talked about the incident and what the campus is doing about it.
In an email to ABC7 a Howard spokesperson says how the suspect allegedly got in the building is still under investigation. Visitors are supposed to have to show their IDs and sign in before being allowed in the dorm.
But a number of students tell ABC7 the school’s security procedures are often not followed.
"I just go in, come out, whenever I want, whatever time of day," said Howard freshman and Bethune resident Mariza Diaz. "Three in the morning I've come in they haven't even asked me anything."
Several students who were inside Sunday's town hall say they're glad the university hosted the meeting, but they still came away wishing the school was doing more.
"I feel a little better knowing what they're doing, but still a lot of our questions are unanswered," said Bethune resident Tanaysha Smith.
"I don't see exactly what they're doing to try to make things better, make it safer,” said Diaz.
Students say they would like to see more security on the campus and in the blocks that surround it.
“I don’t feel safe now,” said freshman Cynthia Ruffin, who along with Diaz lives next to the dorm room where Friday’s assault allegedly took place. “It was a scary, scary experience.”
Howard University says it is increasing round-the-clock security after Friday’s alleged sexual assault. A spokesperson says the school is conducting an internal investigation into what happened.
The suspect Demarco Myles is facing a charge of Assault with the Intent to commit First Degree Sexual Assualt while Armed for the first incident, which happened October 26th. In Friday’s Howard incident he is charged with First Degree Sexual Assault while Armed.