Mac students take to Facebook to warn of campus sex assaults

News Apr 14, 2016 by Carmela Fragomeni The Hamilton Spectator

Reports of disturbing sexual assaults at McMaster University have caused an uproar on a social media site that also warns students to be careful.

The reports were pruned down to a statement from the university that said it and Hamilton police are investigating complaints of a sexual assault in a washroom in the Burke Science Building and four other complaints about "unwanted, non-consensual touching" during Friday's Light Up the Night event on campus.

Posts on the Facebook page Spotted at Mac are rife with shocking accounts, including beyond Friday, of a group of young men aggressively harassing, grabbing, yelling at, and inappropriately touching women on campus and holding them to be kissed, even when the women are in groups. The site also gives descriptions of the men and posts photos.

One post reads "PSA in regards to womens (sic) safety on campus: Those same … guys described earlier … inappropriately touched two girls … kissed them on their face. We tried to run but they found us again and a girl was inappropriately touched again."

It says the women escaped, but spent the night in fear. They warned the men are "very aggressive and touchy. It was a very traumatizing experience."

Another post says "sounds like the same guys who followed (me) through campus earlier in the day … (with one) forcing me to kiss him on the cheek and when I wouldn't he decided to hold me with more force …" The woman says she finally managed to run away.

The university, through its Facebook page and online Daily News, refers to the sexual assault and four complaints on Friday. There is no mention or warning about the assailants referred to in Spotted at Mac or to postings of similar encounters on Saturday.

The Daily News has a link to its statement under a section called "Worth Mentioning." A click on it takes you to "Incidents during Light Up the Night" that says Hamilton police are investigating.

Gord Arbeau, Mac's director of public relations, referred The Spectator to the statement when asked if Mac was doing anything about the Spotted at Mac posts.

Hamilton's sexual assault director Lenore Lukasik-Foss is disappointed Mac's statement wasn't clearer and stronger.

"Certainly, it seems like the language is muted," she said.

"We would want clear language in disseminating information to students," said Lukasik-Foss, with the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area (SACHA).

She added that Canadian universities struggle in their handling of sexual assaults.

"For many, this becomes an issue of 'managing the situation' rather than being fully transparent, which is what students and parents want."

Arbeau said the role of his office is "to ensure the sharing of accurate and factual information, as has been the case in this matter."

He also said "the story is the most read on the site over the past two days" with nearly 7,000 views, nearly 5,000 Facebook shares, and it is on Mac's Facebook page with close to 80,000 followers.

Hamilton police have confirmed they are investigating a report of a sexual assault at Mac on Friday.

Neither the university nor police gave descriptions of the alleged assailants. In the reported assaults on Spotted at Mac, descriptions are given.

Meaghan Ross, McMaster's sexual violence response co-ordinator, referred all questions to its public relations director.

Mac Student Union president Ehima Osazuwa said he was "very confident" the university was taking the issue very seriously and had a prudent response. He referred all other questions to the university.

cfragomeni@thespec.com

905-526-3392 | @CarmatTheSpec

Mac students take to Facebook to warn of campus sex assaults

News Apr 14, 2016 by Carmela Fragomeni The Hamilton Spectator

Reports of disturbing sexual assaults at McMaster University have caused an uproar on a social media site that also warns students to be careful.

The reports were pruned down to a statement from the university that said it and Hamilton police are investigating complaints of a sexual assault in a washroom in the Burke Science Building and four other complaints about "unwanted, non-consensual touching" during Friday's Light Up the Night event on campus.

Posts on the Facebook page Spotted at Mac are rife with shocking accounts, including beyond Friday, of a group of young men aggressively harassing, grabbing, yelling at, and inappropriately touching women on campus and holding them to be kissed, even when the women are in groups. The site also gives descriptions of the men and posts photos.

One post reads "PSA in regards to womens (sic) safety on campus: Those same … guys described earlier … inappropriately touched two girls … kissed them on their face. We tried to run but they found us again and a girl was inappropriately touched again."

It says the women escaped, but spent the night in fear. They warned the men are "very aggressive and touchy. It was a very traumatizing experience."

Another post says "sounds like the same guys who followed (me) through campus earlier in the day … (with one) forcing me to kiss him on the cheek and when I wouldn't he decided to hold me with more force …" The woman says she finally managed to run away.

The university, through its Facebook page and online Daily News, refers to the sexual assault and four complaints on Friday. There is no mention or warning about the assailants referred to in Spotted at Mac or to postings of similar encounters on Saturday.

The Daily News has a link to its statement under a section called "Worth Mentioning." A click on it takes you to "Incidents during Light Up the Night" that says Hamilton police are investigating.

Gord Arbeau, Mac's director of public relations, referred The Spectator to the statement when asked if Mac was doing anything about the Spotted at Mac posts.

Hamilton's sexual assault director Lenore Lukasik-Foss is disappointed Mac's statement wasn't clearer and stronger.

"Certainly, it seems like the language is muted," she said.

"We would want clear language in disseminating information to students," said Lukasik-Foss, with the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area (SACHA).

She added that Canadian universities struggle in their handling of sexual assaults.

"For many, this becomes an issue of 'managing the situation' rather than being fully transparent, which is what students and parents want."

Arbeau said the role of his office is "to ensure the sharing of accurate and factual information, as has been the case in this matter."

He also said "the story is the most read on the site over the past two days" with nearly 7,000 views, nearly 5,000 Facebook shares, and it is on Mac's Facebook page with close to 80,000 followers.

Hamilton police have confirmed they are investigating a report of a sexual assault at Mac on Friday.

Neither the university nor police gave descriptions of the alleged assailants. In the reported assaults on Spotted at Mac, descriptions are given.

Meaghan Ross, McMaster's sexual violence response co-ordinator, referred all questions to its public relations director.

Mac Student Union president Ehima Osazuwa said he was "very confident" the university was taking the issue very seriously and had a prudent response. He referred all other questions to the university.

cfragomeni@thespec.com

905-526-3392 | @CarmatTheSpec

Mac students take to Facebook to warn of campus sex assaults

News Apr 14, 2016 by Carmela Fragomeni The Hamilton Spectator

Reports of disturbing sexual assaults at McMaster University have caused an uproar on a social media site that also warns students to be careful.

The reports were pruned down to a statement from the university that said it and Hamilton police are investigating complaints of a sexual assault in a washroom in the Burke Science Building and four other complaints about "unwanted, non-consensual touching" during Friday's Light Up the Night event on campus.

Posts on the Facebook page Spotted at Mac are rife with shocking accounts, including beyond Friday, of a group of young men aggressively harassing, grabbing, yelling at, and inappropriately touching women on campus and holding them to be kissed, even when the women are in groups. The site also gives descriptions of the men and posts photos.

One post reads "PSA in regards to womens (sic) safety on campus: Those same … guys described earlier … inappropriately touched two girls … kissed them on their face. We tried to run but they found us again and a girl was inappropriately touched again."

It says the women escaped, but spent the night in fear. They warned the men are "very aggressive and touchy. It was a very traumatizing experience."

Another post says "sounds like the same guys who followed (me) through campus earlier in the day … (with one) forcing me to kiss him on the cheek and when I wouldn't he decided to hold me with more force …" The woman says she finally managed to run away.

The university, through its Facebook page and online Daily News, refers to the sexual assault and four complaints on Friday. There is no mention or warning about the assailants referred to in Spotted at Mac or to postings of similar encounters on Saturday.

The Daily News has a link to its statement under a section called "Worth Mentioning." A click on it takes you to "Incidents during Light Up the Night" that says Hamilton police are investigating.

Gord Arbeau, Mac's director of public relations, referred The Spectator to the statement when asked if Mac was doing anything about the Spotted at Mac posts.

Hamilton's sexual assault director Lenore Lukasik-Foss is disappointed Mac's statement wasn't clearer and stronger.

"Certainly, it seems like the language is muted," she said.

"We would want clear language in disseminating information to students," said Lukasik-Foss, with the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area (SACHA).

She added that Canadian universities struggle in their handling of sexual assaults.

"For many, this becomes an issue of 'managing the situation' rather than being fully transparent, which is what students and parents want."

Arbeau said the role of his office is "to ensure the sharing of accurate and factual information, as has been the case in this matter."

He also said "the story is the most read on the site over the past two days" with nearly 7,000 views, nearly 5,000 Facebook shares, and it is on Mac's Facebook page with close to 80,000 followers.

Hamilton police have confirmed they are investigating a report of a sexual assault at Mac on Friday.

Neither the university nor police gave descriptions of the alleged assailants. In the reported assaults on Spotted at Mac, descriptions are given.

Meaghan Ross, McMaster's sexual violence response co-ordinator, referred all questions to its public relations director.

Mac Student Union president Ehima Osazuwa said he was "very confident" the university was taking the issue very seriously and had a prudent response. He referred all other questions to the university.

cfragomeni@thespec.com

905-526-3392 | @CarmatTheSpec