Sexual assault reported at ODU’s Whitehurst Hall

ODU Whitehurst Hall (WAVY/Walter Hildebrand)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University sent out a campus-wide crime alert Wednesday regarding the report of a sexual assault in Whitehurst Hall.

The alert says the alleged assault happened in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 26. The victim, who the school confirms is not affiliated with ODU, reported the crime on April 27 in Spotsylvania, and that information was passed on to the ODU Police Department.

The preliminary investigation indicates the victim was visiting a resident of the dorm, according to university spokeswoman Giovanna Genard. She said, while a suspect has not been identified or arrested, investigators have determined the suspect and victim were acquaintances.

Rachael Slater, a junior at ODU, said she’ll probably be more alert this weekend, as some students head off to parties during finals week.

“We always look for each other. We don’t ever walk home alone, ever. I always have one of them with me. Two against one, you know? I bring pepper spray every once in awhile,” Slater said.

The ODU website says Whitehurst consists of two six-story towers. It is located on 48th Street. There are video cameras in the area of Whitehurst Hall, and investigators are reviewing the footage, Genard told WAVY.com.

Students told WAVY.com the dorm is for underclassmen and that residents and guests have to have names checked on a list after midnight.

University police provided the campus community the following safety tips:

  • Consent is a clear and freely given yes—not the absence of a no
  • People who are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs cannot give consent
  • Contact police regarding suspicious persons
  • Trust your instincts.  If you feel unsafe, get to a safe place and call for help
  • Never feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to. “I don’t want to” is always a good enough reason.
  • Be active in supporting a safe and respectful community. If you observe others engaging in disrespectful and/or inappropriate behaviors, speak-up and get involved, or contact someone else to assist you.

If you have any information that could help ODU police with this investigation, please give them a call at 757-683-4000, or you can submit a tip using the LiveSafe app, which you can download for free.

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