Student harassed while walking near Wait Chapel

On Saturday, a Wake Forest student was followed by an unidentified man in a gold SUV who yelled a racial slur

Student+harassed+while+walking+near+Wait+Chapel

Connor McNeely, Opinion Editor

At 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, a student walking near Wait Chapel noticed a small grey and gold SUV with an elongated end passing by parking lots P and Q. When the student realized that the vehicle was following her, the driver — a middle-aged man with graying hair and a short-sleeved grey shirt — leaned out of the window and yelled a racial slur at her.

The incident was reported to the University Police on Sunday, Aug. 29. In a community safety advisory statement released by the Department of Communications and External Relations on Sunday at 8:40 p.m., the University Police were said to have been investigating the incident.

The Old Gold & Black contacted the University Police for additional information or updates on the case and were informed that there were no developments.

The advisory statement also reported that the University was “providing resources to assist the individual involved in this incident and will continue to take actions to maintain the safety and security of the campus community.”

The statement also addressed the student population. “It is important for all of us to focus on the things that we can all do to keep ourselves and others safe,” the email read. 

Harassment from unidentified persons on and around Wake Forest’s Reynolda campus is not unprecedented. A community safety advisory was released last semester regarding an incident similar to that of Saturday, Aug. 28. The incident occurred at 1 a.m. on April 4, 2021. As a female student returned from a party, walking along Polo Road, an unidentified 30-year-old male approached a female student and grabbed her arm. The student was able to safely escape. It is unclear whether the University Police’s investigation of the case was ever concluded.

The incident of Aug. 28 comes after Wake Forest’s decision to return gate access to normal operations — a policy that was implemented on May 1, 2021, in accordance with the university’s adaptation to COVID-19 conditions. The guidelines for University gate access stipulate that card access is not required from the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. as all of the gatehouses are open. University Police have maintained their patrol of campus parking lots from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

If you have any information pertaining to the incident that could be helpful in the investigation, please contact the University Police at (336)-758-5911. To provide information anonymously, please complete the ‘Silent Witness’ form that can be found at https://police.wfu.edu/forms/silent-witness-form/Additional resources can be found on the LiveSafe app, which connects students, staff and faculty with the University Police. The phone application “allows direct access to police, 911 emergency services, emergency location sharing, information sharing with quick tips, and a peer-to-peer Safe Walk tool.”

Emergency Blue Light Boxes are located throughout campus. To reach a dispatcher, press the button on the emergency box once.

The Police Advisory Board, a ‘cross-section of our campus community, remains an essential organization that handles public safety concerns and holds the University Police accountable for the safety of students, staff and faculty. To submit a concern, please email [email protected]