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Students at ISU taking extra precautions amid sexual violence reports

NORMAL (HOI) — Illinois State University police are investigating two incidents of sexual assault and one incident of sexual abuse on campus.

“As far as how [the incidents] impacted my day-to-day life, I just don’t go outside at night anymore,” ISU student Zane Verlaine said.

Verlaine has always felt a little unsafe on campus but now the fear is greater given the recent reports.

“You shouldn’t have to change your entire way of living in order to feel safe that’s not right. That’s not how it should be,” Verlaine said.

Other students, like junior Sarah Esparza, do feel safe on campus because of the precautions they take each day.

“My roommates and I or my friends and I make sure we’re walking together and if we’re not walking together we let each other know when we get where we need to go. We live pretty close to campus too so I don’t feel unsafe but it is very uneasy hearing things that happen,” she said.

The two sexual assault cases allegedly happened at two ISU residence halls while the most recent, involving a non-student victim, happened during a football game at Hancock Stadium over the weekend.

“A female guest at the game was approached by a currently unidentified male and he forcibly kissed her and groped her while he was in the stands,” ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff said.

The victims in these cases met not only with police but also with the department’s new therapy dog named sage.

“[Sage has] met with the survivors themselves or with witnesses and she provides a certain level of comfort and reduces anxiety when they’re meeting here in the room,” Woodruff said.

Though Sage is just one service available to students dealing with sexual violence on campus.

“Our student counseling services has counselors that are specialized in that area and can give confidential support and counseling to students,” ISU Media Relations Director Eric Jome said.

If you need more information on how to report sexual violence to the Illinois State University Police Department visit

If you need more information on the university’s student counseling services, visit

The Illinois State University Police Department can be reached at (309)-438-8631.


Stephanie Rodriguez

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