Lack of notification from police makes on-campus residents nervous
Student residents remain largely uninformed after a sexual assault and unrelated string of trespassings this past week. UNC Charlotte campus police have not distributed e-mail alerts to students after a sexual assault took place in Holshouser Hall. This follows a flurry of questions from students regarding a lack of e-mail notification after a notice was distributed to South Village Resident advisors regarding a repeat dormitory trespasser earlier this January. Campus police advised South Village resident advisors to look out for Brandon Mangkhala after receiving multiple police calls regarding Mangkhala trespassing in the dorms.
30-year-old Mangkhala had four outstanding warrants and previous criminal charges that include carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct at the time resident advisors were informed. Despite resident advisors being notified by the University after multiple reports, South Village residents received no notifications from campus police.
Students like South Village resident Drew Covert have been finding out about recent incidents via word of mouth rather than from university officials.
“It’s really surprising not hearing about something as serious as the assault or someone scary sounding that you could just bump into in the halls,” Covert said.
Covert was referring to an allegation of sexual assault that was reported in South Village. Freshman Joshua Arford was arrested and charged with second-degree rape last Saturday after leaving an off-campus party with another student. In the state of North Carolina, a second-degree rape charge, a Class C felony, is filed when a victim is mentally incapacitated, disabled or unable to resist physically. A UNC Charlotte campus police affidavit obtained by the Charlotte Observer noted both Arford and the victim were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the assault. Students were not notified of the incident via campus alert.
“When I think of rape, I think of someone attacking girls in the dark on the street, but not where I’m supposed to be safe on campus,” said South Village resident Olivia Felk.
“It reminded me that rape happens everywhere. I think it’s ridiculous that the University hasn’t released a statement of some sort. To be fair, the University has put up posters in my dorm about consent and how no means no. The University shouldn’t be blamed for this, but there should have been a statement that tells the truth about the situation so that everyone isn’t running around coming up with false accounts of what happened.”
According to security guidelines published on the UNC Charlotte campus police website, crime alerts are only released “…in the event of a serious crime where the suspect has not been arrested and there is a belief that the campus community could be targeted…”
In regards to the trespassings earlier last January, UNC Charlotte Campus Police Chief Jeff Baker stated that as Mangkhala’s previous charges were misdemeanors and the trespassing offence was minor in nature, that the criteria for a campus alert were not met. Despite this, students continue to voice their concern over the lack of notification from the University and say there should be more campus awareness for incidents such as these.