Rutgers students on alert after frightening sexual assault

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A.J. Ross speaks to students and officials on the campus about the sex assault. (Julio Cortez)

Students are on alert after a frightening attack on the campus of Rutgers University.

Rutgers police say the student reported that on Friday afternoon, an unknown man entered her residence hall room in Mettler Hall while her door was open. She said the man began to kiss her, while touching her over her clothing.

"That's just disgusting," student Jonathan Nelson said. "You just walk in and start doing that to someone? I don't even know what would possess someone to do something like that...In the dorm room, that's a place where you should be safe. That's a place you shouldn't have to worry about things like that."

The victim said she was able to distance herself from the man and demand that he leave the area. The man agreed and left in an unknown direction. The woman did not suffer any physical injuries.

"I was shocked, in a way, because of how much we talk about safety," student Imani Beauliere said. "And we're really big on that, so it's just interesting to know that someone was able to even accomplish what they were able to do."

The suspect is described as a thin, college-aged white man with blonde hair.

"It's probably really common on college campuses, too, it just doesn't go heard, you know what I mean?" student D'Anna Barbaro said. "It doesn't go reported, and the fact that she was able to report it is like really big for victims."

A crime alert circulated throughout the New Brunswick campus and beyond, putting students on guard as police continue their investigation.

"It seems like she reported it really quickly and said something," student Shannon Stone said. "Finally, people are feeling like they can say this happened to me and we need to address it."

Meanwhile, just four months ago, Rutgers received a $2 million federal grant to expand university-wide services, training and education for victims of sexual assault.

"As we've created a space for the conversation, students have responded," Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Felicia McGinty said. "They want to talk about the issue. They want to challenge one another. And they want to change culture."

Police are asking anyone with information who may have been in the area at the time to contact the Rutgers Police Department Detective Bureau at 848-932-8025

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