Students who may have forgotten that Seattle University is an urban campus received a rude awakening last week when a student was stabbed on campus.
Early on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 15, a 24-year-old Seattle U student was assaulted and stabbed in an attempted robbery on campus. According to the timely warning notification emailed to students, the student was returning to campus near the administration building when the attack occurred.
Tim Marron, Seattle U’s executive director of Public Safety, said the victim defended himself and was able to get to an emergency-safety phone to alert Public Safety of the attack.
A Public Safety officer reached the victim within one minute of the call, realized that the victim was in need of medical attention, and called for medics while other public safety officers pursued and cornered the suspects.
“Within 12 minutes of the victim pushing the emergency button, two of the suspects were in custody and the other one was surrounded,” said Marron. “Basically within 30 minutes of the victim pushing that button, all suspects were caught and the victim was in the hospital being prepped for emergency surgery.”
The suspects in the assault are a 15-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl, and a 23-year-old man.
According to The Seattle Times, the juvenile suspects were booked into the Youth Services Center and the adult suspect into the King County Jail. They faced their first court appearance on Thursday, when bail was set for $1 million for the adult victim, according to The Seattle Times.
Although this incident is a reminder of the hazards involved in living on a campus in the heart of a large city, Marron is proud of Public Safety’s response and hopes that students feel safe on campus.
“These are the types of incidents that we have been training the officers for,” Marron said. “I know often times it seems like universities’ Public Safety departments are viewed as being here to catch the students making policy violations. That is not our primary mission…The primary reason why we have Public Safety officers is to protect the lives of the people on campus.”
Marron, who started working at Seattle U last June, explained the processes involved in training officers for incidents like the stabbing. Training includes weekly practices of emergency situations over the summer months, as well as training specific to emergency situations.
“We’ve instituted a training program to get the officers’ skills up to the point where they are proficient in responding to emergencies like this,” Marron said. “So we’ve provided them training and policies and procedures to make sure that our response is going to be the best that it can be.”
In addition to new training programs, Public Safety has also recently added four new dispatcher positions. This change maximizes staffing for assistance in emergency situations. In addition, Marron believes that the presence of more uniformed officers on campus deters potential suspects from loitering and even assaulting.
The recent stabbing incident is just one of many timely warning notifications that students have received over the past few months. Although many students have come to accept that crime is part of living on an urban campus, these events are unsettling, especially for freshmen students who might not be used to living in the city.
Most students noticed the stabbing incident and have since been talking about what it means for an incident like this to have happened right on campus, in an area that most students pass through daily.
Ciana Brogan, a Seattle U student, said she wasn’t surprised by the incident.
“I think it’s weird because I’ve been getting more alerts than last year,” said Eli Gatchalian, another student at Seattle U, when asked about the recent stabbing incident.
For those worried about safety on Seattle U’s campus, Marron wants to remind students and their families about the message he delivered at freshmen orientation.
“In any urban environment, you have to develop a way of living and operating in that environment,” Marron said. “It’s really easy to get comfortable in an urban environment because you get so used to it that you don’t think, ‘Something could happen to me.’”
Marron wants to remind students to utilize Public Safety and that, if in danger, get back to campus when possible. The victim in this incident did respond appropriately and Public Safety’s success in tracking down the victims is due in part to the victim’s reaction.
“That’s one thing that I want to make clear is that this student did everything right,” Marron said. “He deliberately picked his path back to campus. And sometimes even when you do everything right, other people have other things in mind. These people saw him, decided to follow him, and his choice to come onto campus where help is really close by was a great idea.”
Alaina Bever is a sophomore mechanical engineering major interested in bioengineering. This is her second quarter as a staff writer for The Spectator. In her free time, Alaina enjoys running, baking and writing.