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Sports Editor: Shailyn Bacchiocchi
On the morning of November 17th, 2022, students and faculty received two emails regarding incidents that happened on University property over the previous two days. One was a breaking and entering in Spruce Hall, where eight people entered the building with masks/and or hoodies and stole thousands of dollars of property from a student’s room. The other was three people shot by a possible BB or pellet gun on Ring Road and in Lot 13. These incidents, the lack of preventative measures and the University’s subsequent response has been concerning for students, many of whom reached out to The Torch to report on this issue. This article is about the pellet/BB gun incident, to read about the breaking and entering click to our other article here.
The email from the University, received by students and staff at 10:11am, November 17th, 2022, reads as the following:
UMass Dartmouth community,
At 8:10 p.m. on November 16, University Police responded to Lot 13 for a report of a student that had been hit by a projectile from a possible BB gun or pellet gun. The shot was fired by an individual in the passenger seat of a black sedan driving on Ring Road. Shortly afterward, two other instances of this activity were reported. After searching campus, University Police could not locate any vehicle matching the descriptions involved in the incident. No serious injuries were reported.
University Police will continue to investigate. If you have any information regarding this serious crime, please immediately notify the University Police (508.999.8107).
Deputy Chief Souza
Immediately, The Torch reached out to UMass Dartmouth’s Deputy Chief John Souza, for more details on the incident. The following was his response:
Due to on-going investigations with these particular incidents, I cannot comment on them. I hope you understand.
Deputy Chief Souza
While the Deputy Chief may not be able to comment at this time, students who are concerned for their safety on campus were more than willing to share their thoughts; including one of the victims of the incident.
This victim has chosen to remain anonymous but was able to provide the Torch with information regarding what exactly happened to him. He described his experience to us.
“I was walking from the gym to Lot 13, I was right in front of Birch Hall. All of the sudden this black car rolled up on me and I heard noises, and felt a stinging pain across my neck, and then they drove away….I get back to my car, and as I’m pulling out of lot 13, they come back and shoot at my car….they were riding around Woodland commons, just shooting at people.”
The victim immediately called the UMD police to report their experience.
According to the victim, the Umass Dartmouth Police told him that other people had reported the same thing and that they were trying to put the pieces together. They also immediately asked if he needed medical attention, and according to the victim, they “seemed concerned and were trying to find the culprits.”
Luckily, no serious injuries were reported for any of the victims.
Many students immediately took to social media to comment on the incident, stating that they were curious as to why the University was not reporting any other details of the car. Though there is no confirmed make, model, license plate, or further details available to the public, students believe they deserve more information.
“That’s all we get from the UMD Police?” one student commented on social media.
“Why are we not getting any info on the car?” another student asked.
Students are scared, as seen in their comments on social media and to The Torch.
“I’m scared to walk to my car at night,” one student said.
“It’s dangerous to be walking around campus these days,” another student commented.
When asked how he felt about safety on campus, the victim told the Torch,
“I was never really concerned about being attacked before this to be honest, but then again I’m a pretty big dude and I don’t really get concerned walking alone at night regardless of where I’m at. I will say it was definitely shocking and I will be raising my guard at night from now on”
Students seem to be taking safety matters into their own hands. By reaching out to each other through social media and in classes, students have started to reassure each other in a way they believe the University has not.
“If anyone needs someone to walk with, I can help out,” one student offered.
“Let’s set up a group where anyone that needs a friend to walk with can reach out,” another student suggested.
Students feel they have not been provided any reassurance, especially considering they frequently walk around campus at night.
“I mean in my situation there really isn’t anything that could be done,” the victim says, “I do feel as if this school has issues with safety, however pertaining to my specific incident not much could be done. I was shot on Ring road in a well lit and well populated area.”
The lighting safety issue has been a topic of concern over many semesters, being brought up a number of times at the student-forums like Shake the Ship, Reset the Sails, and the new Leadership forum.
The University’s response has always been “working on it” and though there are more lights in the main part of campus, students believe that more action is needed throughout all parts of the campus.
The Torch reached out to both VC Scott and Deputy Chief Souza regarding concerns for safety by students, but as of the time in which the article was originally posted, neither responded.*
Overall, both of these incidents will need to be addressed further by the University, as it is clear there are a lot of unresolved issues and student concerns regarding their safety after these incidents.
*An email was sent out at 5:51pm, November 17, 2022, by VC Kimberly Scott to the students and staff. The email reads as follows:
Dear campus community,
I write to provide updates regarding two public safety incidents shared with the campus community this morning.
The first incident was a report of breaking and entering in Spruce Hall on the evening of November 15, 2022. University Police are currently questioning an individual in relation to this incident. We strongly believe this was an isolated, targeted instance of theft and believe there is no ongoing threat to the community.
The second issue was a report of a student that had been hit by a projectile from a possible BB gun or pellet gun in Lot 13 on the evening of November 16, 2022. University Police have identified the vehicle involved in the incident and the projectile used, which will help their investigation. Patrols are on the lookout for the vehicle should it enter campus again. We do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the campus community.
Both investigations are continuing, and University Police ask that if anyone has information regarding these crimes, please immediately notify them via phone at 508.999.8107. Remember, if you see something suspicious, please report it to the University Police. Thank you for your efforts to keep our campus safe.
All the Best,
Kimberly M. Scott, PhD
From the perspective of students, The Torch staff wants to emphasize the importance of reporting any suspicious behavior, as well as the importance of advocating for your safety. As students, we have a right to feel safe, secure, and welcome on this campus. Whatever your thoughts are on the University’s response, we stress the notion that speaking out is important to bring change and movement. We stand by the victims, staff, and students of the University. We hope that the University will also accept the voices of students in their investigation and subsequent actions to deter incidents like this. If you have any information on either incident, please contact University Police (508.999.8107).