We know that many of you are understandably concerned given recent incidents on or near campus, including multiple reports of groping over the past couple days.
First, we want to assure you that your safety is our priority, and we are taking these incidents seriously. A safe environment is imperative to the overall well-being of our community and our mission of teaching and learning. Acts of sexual assault in any context are unacceptable, and we are committed to holding perpetrators accountable.
The groping incidents reported on March 16 and March 17 remain under investigation and the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) is working closely with the Metro Nashville Police Department, surrounding universities, and our community to gather information, identify, and apprehend the suspect. We hope to be able to provide additional details soon.
As a reminder, the suspect was last seen Thursday evening just after 8:30 p.m. in the area of 21st Ave S. and West End Ave. wearing a maroon long-sleeved shirt, baseball cap, black and white checkered shoes, and dark-colored backpack. We ask that anyone who sees this individual please immediately dial 911 or contact VUPD at 615-421-1911.
As a result of these incidents, we have enacted enhanced safety and security measures including increased patrols on and around our campus. We are also actively encouraging you and all members of our community to immediately report any suspicious behavior or incidents to VUPD.
We also encourage all of you to download the VandySafe app, which allows you to:
- Contact VUPD via phone call or real-time chat
- Trigger a mobile Bluelight that shares your location instantly with VUPD
- Initiate a “Virtual Walkhome” where VUPD can monitor your walk home or to the car
- Submit iReports and crime tips
- View information about VandyRide (previously Vandy Vans)
- Access support resources, such as Project Safe
- View emergency guides
Below are some other general tips to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a crime:
- Scan the area before you exit or approach your vehicle/or building while you proceed between locations
- Have your key or card ready in hand to quickly access the door of your vehicle/building
- Avoid traveling alone through isolated or dark areas when possible
- Watch out for each other
- Know the location of emergency phones
- Report any suspicious persons to VUPD
And as a reminder, here are some helpful resources available to you:
- The Vanderbilt University Police Department is available to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you need emergency assistance call: (615) 421-1911 or non-emergency: (615) 322-2745.
- The Project Safe Center offers a support line 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (615) 322-SAFE(7233).
- The Title IX Office can be reached during business hours at (615) 343-9004. To file a report about an incident involving sexual misconduct, you can leave a voicemail or submit an online incident report.
- The University Counseling Center (UCC) can be reached at (615) 322-2571. Information about Urgent Care Counseling, including after hours services, can be found on the UCC webpage.
Again, please know that we are all working hard every day to ensure that our campus is a safe and welcoming environment for all of you.
G.L. Black, Vice Provost for Student Affairs & Dean of Students