By: Haley Hersey, Staff Writer
On April 13, Ronald Saindon, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police sent out an email regarding a “campus safety alert.” The email notified the community of an alleged attack on a woman of color close to the Portland campus that occurred “on or about April 1st.”
The email also stated that the female student wished to remain anonymous. The alleged incident occurred as she left the Portland campus and was walking toward Hannaford Supermarket. According to the account, a man grabbed her and used a racial slur.
As of now, the man’s description, exact location, and date are unknown. According to the email, “Portland Police have been notified and they report no similar incidents in that area.” Campus Police and Portland PD are providing special attention and surveillance to the area.
When asked for further comment on the situation, Chief Saindon stated, “Unfortunately we have no further details to provide at this time. The information we received was reported to us anonymously via a third party.” The reporting party did not know the exact location of the incident.
“USM values and strives for the safety of our community,” Chief Saindon said. “We encourage anyone who feels unsafe or sees suspicious activity to contact us; in addition, the Department of Public Safety offers a safety escort service to our community while on campus.”
In the initial email about the safety alert, a list of safety tips were shared:
-Always try to walk with someone when possible. Especially at night
-If being followed, go directly to a populated place
-Report any suspicious persons or vehicles immediately to police.”
USM President, Glenn Cummings, sent out an email on April 16 regarding a public safety survey. In the email, President Cummings explained, “In the fall of 2020, I convened a Public Safety Task Force to review and reimagine USM’s approach to public safety and security across its three campuses.
Last Friday, the Task Force launched a confidential survey for University students, faculty, and staff to share perceptions of USM’s current public safety model, capture values and opinions around public safety, and gather feedback on potential changes.” The survey, sent out to current students via email, is designed to take 10-15 minutes to complete and asks a variety of questions. Some questions pertain to how safe people feel on campus, personal experiences with public safety and campus police, and expectations for the role of public safety on USM’s campuses.
Those who witness questionable or uncomfortable behavior on campus are encouraged by public safety to be active bystanders by “say[ing] something, offer[ing] to help the individual, or call[ing] for help.”
Campus Police are open 24 hours a day and are accessible by phone for non-emergencies at (207) 780-5211.