University of Florida President Bernie Machen sent the following e-mail to all University of Florida students to remind them to use caution in light of recent assaults and attempted assaults in or around the University of Florida.
The armed assault of a University of Florida student that occurred Friday night near Norman Hall and Sorority Row was a startling reminder of how seriously the university community must take the safety of our students. Although the incident did not occur on campus, I want to assure the community that the University Police Department (UPD) is working closely with the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) to respond to the situation. GPD has shifted patrols to Sorority Row, and UPD has assigned additional officers to that area as well. These measures will ensure a high-visibility, round-the-clock police presence in that area as efforts to apprehend the suspect continue. Both agencies also are investigating whether Friday night’s incident may be connected to a recent similar incident involving a UF student that occurred as she was traveling from downtown Gainesville to campus. Additionally, we strongly encourage students to follow safety precautions:
* Avoid walking alone. On campus, use the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP). Request a SNAP escort online at http://www.snap.ufl.edu, via telephone at 392-7627 (SNAP), or through the SNAP app. SNAP operates from 6:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. nightly.
* Stay in well-lighted areas away from alleys, bushes, and entryways.
* Walk on the side of the street facing traffic.
* If a driver stops to ask directions, avoid getting close to the car.
* If a car appears to be following you, turn and walk in the opposite direction. You should go to a public location and get assistance. Also, be sure to call police.
* Do not hitchhike and only accept rides from people you know well.
* Always be alert and aware. If someone bothers you, do not be embarrassed to attract attention to yourself.
* Always try to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Furthermore, any student who sees suspicious activity should call 911 immediately to report it.
Finally, I would also like to remind students who may be upset by this incident that counselors are available 24 hours a day by calling the UF Counseling and Wellness Center at 352-392-1575.