Female student assaulted

Dark areas around campus a concern

Adam Del Rio, Staff Writer

Even before a female student was assaulted on campus the night of Jan. 28, many De Anza College students were concerned about safety in dark areas on campus.

An email alert went out to students and faculty around 8:45 p.m. saying that a female student was accosted by a male while walking on the south side of the De Anza Campus.

The victim described the assailant as “possibly Latino or Middle Eastern, 5’5” to 5’6” inches tall, with short brown hair, bushy eyebrows and unshaven, with a cut above his lip and strong body odor,” according to an email notification from the FDHA District.

The victim told police “the assailant grabbed her by the arm and pushed her against a wall, attempting to kiss her and touching her inappropriately,” according to the email notification.

The victim said she punched the assailant, who told the victim his name is Alexander, and ran away.

De Anza College president Brian Murphy addressed the assault at a previously scheduled forum on Jan. 29 discussing women, gender, and sexuality.

“The young woman was able to give a fairly detailed description of the person including what she thinks to be potentially a name,” Murphy said.

Whether the fix is as simple as replacing bulbs and resetting light timers, or as difficult as installing new lights throughout campus, students want a resolution to the many corners on campus that become too dark at night.

“[The lighting] is a continuing concern that a lot of us share,” Murphy said. “I think there is a broader issue…which is the degree to which we can have conversations early on. Not just about what’s appropriate behavior and what’s inappropriate, but how to protect each other and how to take care of each other.”

Areas of concern include the L Quad, A Quad, PE buildings, Science Quad, edges of campus and parking lots.

Student Alexa Navarro, 24, said she was going home the night of the assault when “the lights started turning off in the Flint
parking garage.”

She said she was angered and has begun to doubt De Anza’s awareness of student safety.

Maria Barrera, 21, biology major, said Parking Lot E is the scariest place on campus for her.

“I just get worried that someone is going to come up from behind me or something,” Barrera said. “There’s not enough lights, so I can’t see anyone.”

Donna Jones-Dulin, associate vice president of college operations, said she has been reminding plant services to replace some of the lights bulbs in Parking Lot E.

“We try to kind of do a check around campus to make sure the lights that are on are operating as they should,” Jones-Dulin said.

Luigi Ramirez, 21, film and animation major, said while some light fixtures are old, many are dirty and others are just burned out.

“The outsides of buildings could be brighter,” Ramirez said. “I don’t think people realize just how much the lights from classes light up
the campus.”

Without the light coming from inside classrooms, the campus is left with dim lighting from fixtures on the buildings.

“Women shouldn’t have to walk late at night and be afraid,” said Dylan Moore, 18, English major.

Moore is advocating for De Anza to install blue light emergency phones throughout the dark areas, as well as the opening of a new women, gender, and sexuality center on campus, which would serve as a safe place during hours when the campus is dark.

Chair of women’s studies Marc Coronado said she agrees that these would be smart additions to
De Anza.

Coronado also encouraged students and faculty to use the buddy system, spread awareness, and realize that everyone is responsible for making the community safer.

“It’s time for students, staff and faculty to get angry and get active,” Coronado said.

Jones-Dulin oversees campus operations and construction on campus and said she plans on replacing and adding lights.

“We did a photometric study to make sure we got good [light] coverage and it was overlapping,” Jones-Dulin said.

A map with the areas of concern has been sent to Jones-Dulin. She said the areas will be reviewed, and as De Anza’s operation specialist she will attempt to add lights around campus to comfort students.

According to an email from Marisa Spatafore, marketing director of De Anza, there were no updates on the assault as of Friday.

Campus police are investigating leads and will turn to a sketch
if necessary.