Editor’s Observe: This story discusses rape on campus.
When Bridget Sisk ’26 discovered concerning the rape that occurred in Cascadilla Corridor, her residence corridor, she had an uneasy feeling she couldn’t shake. Since then, she has develop into hyperaware of her residential environment, consistently feeling uncomfortable in her own residence.
“Each time I hear a loud door slam exterior my room or individuals within the halls at night time, I get nervous,” Sisk mentioned.
The Cornell pupil group obtained a Crime Alert about an on-campus rape on Thursday, Sept. 14, which resulted in a number of college students telling The Solar they really feel unsafe of their residence corridor and prompted a collection of safety renovations to quell resident fears.
“A sufferer reported to a College official that she was forcibly raped by an unknown individual, in an unknown residence corridor, someday on Sept. 14,” the alert said. “The sufferer described the suspect as a male, six ft tall and weighing roughly 160 kilos. The sufferer was in a position to escape after kicking the suspect.”
Cascadilla Corridor residents obtained a subsequent e mail on Sept. 15 informing them that the occasion occurred of their residence corridor, with out additional data relating to the identification of the offender or particular particulars concerning the location. In a follow-up e mail on Sept. 19, Housing and Residential Life inspired college students to report any useful data and “take steps to maximise the present security and safety measures already in place.”
“I really feel like they didn’t do an excellent job of speaking what actually occurred,” mentioned Isha Patel ’26. In line with Cornell’s 2023 Safety Report, in response to an occasion that constitutes a risk to college students and workers, the College will subject a Crime Alert containing “a quick description of the incident; the date, time, location of the incident and precautions to take.” The report provides that “the quantity and kind of knowledge introduced within the warning will fluctuate relying on the circumstances of the crime.”
Not solely have been Cascadilla Corridor residents alarmed by the latest assault, however they’ve already adopted security habits to fight the growing sexual violence on and close to campus. Sisk has more and more taken measures to make sure her security throughout her time within the dorm.
“After I signed a housing contract to dwell in Cascadilla Corridor, I knew due to the lengthy historical past of theft I used to be going to must be vigilant about locking my door after I was away, however I’m consistently checking that my door is locked after I’m within the room,” Sisk mentioned.
Final yr, there have been three Crime Alerts that reported thefts in Cascadilla Corridor. The primary theft occurred on Aug. 24, 2022 wherein a Nintendo Swap gaming console, controllers and charger have been stolen. The second occurred on Nov. 15, 2022 wherein a laptop computer and iPad have been stolen. In a 3rd incident on Could 9, 2023, a backpack was stolen. In all three circumstances, the thieves entered by means of unlocked dorm rooms, and in a single case, the room was occupied.
Even earlier than the rape occurred, Patel was weary of her residence’s safety after encountering two aggressive males on Sept. 1. She mentioned she was startled at 2:30 a.m. by loud knocks on her door, which she assumed have been from her mates who continuously go to her room in any respect hours.
“I used to be freaking out as a result of I mentioned actually quietly, ‘are available in,’ considering it was my mates, however it was two random males who bought actually aggressive,” Patel mentioned. “That was actually scary.” Patel reported the incident to her residential advisor.
Patel prolonged her criticism concerning the Administration’s lack of transparency relating to the rape to incorporate issues a couple of common lack of expertise surrounding suspicious exercise in Cascadilla Corridor.
“I went down and recognized them to the pinnacle RA, and she or he mentioned, ‘this description is precisely like somebody a few days in the past who was going into the ladies’s restroom,’” Patel mentioned. “Why did nobody inform us this?”
Many residents really feel Cascadilla Corridor’s location within the Collegetown space contributes to those safety issues, as it could be susceptible to extra non-residents. Amanda Peh ’26 has been uncomfortable with the quantity of people that hang around Cascadilla Corridor, particularly after the rape reported within the constructing.
“In Collegetown, there’s a excessive likelihood that somebody will not be a pupil right here,” Peh mentioned. “That’s why I don’t like individuals loitering.”
Peh defined that when she enters Cascadilla Corridor and is unsure if a loiterer is a resident, she normally waits for them to go away or walks to a special entrance to keep away from interacting with them. Much more so, she mentioned, the vehicles that park exterior her constructing for lengthy intervals of time make her probably the most involved for her security.
“The vehicles are what make me uncomfortable, as a result of what if they only take me?” Peh mentioned.
Some Cascadilla Corridor residents, together with Sisk, have felt that their dorm is “forgotten and uncared for” and that their “security is being placed on the backburner.” The rape has served as an unlucky indication that higher safety is required for college kids to really feel sufficiently protected.
In a September interview with The Solar, David Honan, affiliate vp of public security, talked about among the safety measures that the College has put in place in response to rising sexual assault danger, together with training campaigns.
“We began off educating individuals concerning the tailgater subject — don’t let anyone into the residence corridor if you happen to don’t know them,” Honan mentioned in the course of the interview. “Individuals could be cautious about not desirous to offend any person, however in doing so, we unintentionally let some individuals into residence halls that most likely shouldn’t be there.”
Honan additionally talked about that the College plans to put in a secondary ID scanner in Cascadilla Corridor that can present “two layers” of safety to residents.
In line with Peh, Cascadilla residents have lately obtained e mail updates on new renovations to strengthen safety within the constructing — together with the brand new card entry reader put in for the second flooring elevator in an effort to make sure solely residents can enter the residential areas of the constructing. Different renovations embrace enhancements to blinds and home windows, and testing alarms and horns in particular person rooms. Residents have been additionally knowledgeable about elevated police presence in and across the constructing.
Some residents really feel extra snug residing in Cascadilla Corridor after safety measures have been launched. Patel shared she is much less scared in her dorm than she was.
“They’ve [increased] safety, so now it’s feeling extra protected… the primary month, at the very least, was actually scary,” Patel mentioned.
Different residents really feel the brand new security implementations are nonetheless inadequate to adequately defend residents given the severity of the incidents which have occurred and Cascadilla Corridor’s Collegetown location.
“The underwhelming response by the safety staff and Cornell Administration was disheartening, particularly after they provided subpar security enhancements,” Sisk mentioned.
Amid safety threats in Cascadilla Corridor, housing workers members have inspired South Campus residents to enlist assist each time they really feel afraid of their dorm or on campus.
“When you ever really feel unsafe in Cascadilla, in another residence corridor or anyplace on campus, please don’t hesitate to choose up your telephone and name for assist,” wrote South Campus Space Coordinator Kristi Shorter in an e mail to residents obtained by The Solar. “You’ve each proper to be right here, dwell your life, go to high school and really feel protected. That’s the primary proper of any pupil at this establishment.”