Suspicious activity on campuses merits safety statement

Aidan Morris

Multiple college students reported suspicious activity and attempted abductions near ISU’s campus on September 13. Warnings made their way onto social media, and specifically circulated on Instagram and Snapchat, that detailed the alleged events and gave details to look out for. 

Due to the severity of the alleged incidents, word quickly spread across town to IWU, where students continued to share warnings about the possibility of attackers on campus. 

The most notable, and widely shared, incident involved two men who pursued a female ISU student as she was walking home from a sorority rush event. The woman was able to reach safety by running across the street towards a man walking his dog and alerting him of the danger.

The men are widely reported to have been driving a silver Dodge Grand Caravan at the time. 

The university released a statement sharing that they had been working closely with the Normal Police Department (NPD) to chase leads from students, family members, and social media. 

The NPD confirmed that no kidnappings took place and that they were taking all reports very seriously. The initial call is the one with an ongoing investigation.

Illinois Wesleyan students have also reported suspicious activity in the last week, which could be connected to a hyper awareness caused by the ISU incidents. 

One IWU student reported to Campus Safety that they were approached by an African-American man asking for money for his friend who’s car had allegedly broken down. After the student informed the man that they had no money, the student tried to leave. The man then began following the student while complimenting them and requesting their contact information. The student was able to remove themself from the situation and get to safety.

Similar incidents have taken place in past years, and caused Campus Safety to increase both the frequency of their patrols and the locations they survey. In October 2020, there were a string of assaults around the vicinity of Ames Library and suspicious activity involving a man also claiming to have been having car trouble.

One of the several warnings that made its way across social media platforms.

According to the safety statement issued by ISU, “the ISUPD stresses that anyone who feels their safety is being threatened should contact 911 for assistance.”

Additional sources for credible safety information include the ISUPD social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter) and the NPD Facebook account. Information about recent safety concerns have been shared on these accounts over the last two days.

The University also stated, “while the University advocates for vigilance, safety is the responsibility of all, not simply those who could be targeted. Any individual who witnesses any situation of concern first-hand should call 911.”

Basic safety:

If you witness any safety concerns or are the victim of a crime, please report it immediately to authorities.

Walk in groups, without distraction and stick to well-lit paths.

Make note of the location of Blue Lights throughout campus. In an emergency these link directly to Campus Safety.

IWU Campus Operator can be reached at 309-556-1000.

IWU Campus Safety can be reached at 309-556-1111.