On April 16, Charles Garber Jr., the VUPD Assistant Chief of Police, sent out a campus-wide email. Inappropriate filming was reported to be going on in one of the men’s restrooms in Wehrenberg Hall. An investigation was launched and the subject was identified. The subject was then removed and banned from campus.
The email stated this incident is in fact separate from the previous incidents in Brandt Hall earlier last semester.
Approximately one hour after this email went out, students residing in campus residence halls, sorority houses and apartments all received an email regarding the incident and the upcoming community meetings.
The email detailed a little bit more of an explanation on the incident. The email elaborated that the subject is no longer a student at the university and is no longer allowed on campus.
University officials also checked all the residence hall restrooms for cameras that might be hidden, even though they believe the subject used a handheld device.
The community meetings, lead by the Assistant Dean of Students for Residential Life Ryan Blevins, were held to give students a place to address concerns and questions they had regarding campus safety.
At the Wehrenberg meetings, students raised concerns they had with the issue and the way it was handled, as well as other concerns.
Blevins started out by filling in the blanks with the details about what happened with the incident.
Blevins explained they had a male student who informed VUPD they were being filmed while they were showering in Wehrenberg Hall. Immediately after, they held an investigation, found the subject and arrested him. This was all done within a 24 hour period. The subject has since be banned from campus, and the evidence and case has been sent to the prosecutor's office. They are expecting to file charges against the subject very soon.
“The University has an obligation to report imminent threats to the community once made aware of it. The student made us aware of the filming but the incident occurred several months ago which he just found out about it,” Blevins said. “Once we initiated the investigation, we were able to identify the individual really quickly and were able to remove them from the community so it was an immediate threat, which is part of the reason why we did not send out a campus communication.”
Upon further discussion, students found out that there was more than one victim in this incident. Almost all of the victims have been identified, except for one or two. The University wanted to get victims the opportunity to get the help, legal or otherwise, that they needed before they emailed the campus community about the incident.
After this remark, one student asked what they were going to do about the victims that they could not identify.
“The video and images are not good so some of it’s guess, some of it’s calling individuals into VUPD and saying, ‘Hey, do you think this is you?’” Blevins said in response.
Blevins advises students that if they feel like they might be a victim of this incident, they should contact VUPD with their concerns and find out if they are a victim or not.
To the University’s knowledge, the incident only occured on one floor in Wehrenberg Hall. The hypothesis is based off of how Wehrenberg’s bathroom and floor layout is different than those of other residential halls.
Another aspect of this community meeting was for Residential Life to gather students’ thoughts and ideas of things that could be done to make progress moving forward.
One student was concerned with the lack of protocol for emails of this nature.
“For me, when I got the email ‘Oh hey, we caught somebody,’ that was really nice, but I know with all the stuff happening in Brandt I don’t remember ever receiving a confirmation that that person was caught,” the student said.
The student wondered if it was possible for a policy to be put into place where campus is required to email students when people are caught for incidents related to campus.
Blevins agreed that the community should have a right to know what is going on, but currently it is not in their policy that they have to send out such emails.
Students were also wondering how the videos and images were discovered. Blevins explained that they were found on an online website, a non-social media platform, but have since been removed from the website.
After the meetings, one student expressed his concerns about the timeline of the events that occured. The student, a male resident of Wehrenberg Hall who prefers to remain anonymous, was concerned with what he found to be a lack of information available regarding the incident.
“The suspect was arrested on April 10. And we're having our first meeting the night of April 22...And to a minimum of 12 days, which is almost two weeks. Like that's, that's pretty ridiculous to have it be that long of a timeline to meet with people,” the student said.
“The timeline is something that I think is important that is gotten correctly. And in this case, I feel like it wasn't,” the student said. “Because as I said, the suspect was arrested on April 10. And we're having our first meeting the night of April 22.”
The student, after hearing about the event, was concerned that he may have been unknowingly affected by the incident. He contacted VUPD directly to confirm that he had not been a victim.
“Nobody that I know has sought out VUPD. I've known a few people who've been contacted by VUPD,” the student said. “But nobody has gone directly to them and asked, ‘Am I a victim?’ other than myself.”
If you or someone you know thinks you might be a victim or have any questions regarding campus safety, contact VUPD.