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“Not on our campus

Recent allegations of sexual assaults have Castleton State College in a state of disarray. At least two alleged sexual assaults, no suspects and no official reports given to police. Add it all up and you’re left with confusion.

At the recent informational forum on campus safety at the Casella Theater, Castleton students, faculty and administrators converged to try and sift though this difficult situation.

Castleton President Dave Wolk began the proceedings by acknowledging the fact that the school community was joining together to try to make sure further incidents are avoided.

“Our purpose is to help everyone in our college community to be safe and feel safe,” Wolk said. “Our job is to educate and protect.”

The man on campus with the most influence over community protection is Director of Public Safety, Bob Godlewski.

According to Godlewski, CSC has a great relationship with local and state police and both are involved.

However, they are unable to make any progress in their investigations because, according to police investigator Gary Boutin, neither alleged victim has filed a report.

“The victim has the absolute right not to report and police respect that right,” Boutin said at the forum. “Both reported victims made it perfectly clear that they do not want the police involved.”

According to Boutin, there is no physical or forensic evidence at this point.

Castleton Dean of Students Greg Stone, however, had some pretty convincing information to offer up.

“One of the victims said directly to me that it happened and where it happened,” Stone said. “I think we’re as open a campus as you’ll ever find as far as sharing information.”

Now, the surrounding community is working together to share knowledge that will prove vital for student protection and prevention.

Paula Kelley-Wall represented the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter at the informational forum. An outreach advocate for the Castleton area, Kelley-Wall offered advice, contact numbers and whistles to all who attended.

Those present were also told that the college will be holding self defense classes in the upcoming month.

Heather Hurd is a junior at CSC who commutes to Castleton for classes.

“I know some girls that have been to self defense classes,” Hurd said. “Because of recent events they were worried enough to take precautions.”

Now that students have been informed, some still feel that more needs to be done to keep them safe.

According to Castleton junior John Ciamillo, there is plenty of room for security improvements on campus.

“The campus should have cameras in certain locations to see who’s coming and who’s going,” Ciamillo said. “I dislike cameras but they work.”

Ciamillo is married and said he was uncomfortable with the thought of his wife alone on campus at night.

“In light of the recent events I would not let her walk around here,” Ciamillo said.

In the past week, public safety has boosted patrols at the South Street parking lot, where at least one of the alleged assaults took place. The decision was made to man the lot 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Public safety is also urging anyone in need of a ride to utilize the college’s 24-hour escort service.