Campus responds quickly to sexual assault

Samuel Manzolillo, 21, is caught by camera near the Commissary Warehouse on Nov. 3, 2016. Manzolillo was arrested for sexual assault later that day. (Courtesy/UConn Police) 

On Nov. 3, the University of Connecticut responded to an incident where a 21 year old allegedly aggressively grabbed a women’s buttocks. The assault occurred early in the afternoon, and the student body was notified in an email that included two pictures of the assailant approximately 90 minutes later. The University of Connecticut police then received information about the identity of the man, arrested him, and subsequently informed the students.

It is important that the university is treating cases such as this seriously and is invested in engaging the community to help solve these cases. Treating sexual assault cases of this nature seriously should not be taken for granted, it wasn’t too long ago that grabbing someone’s buttocks would’ve been viewed as trivial and dismissed out of hand. Pursuing cases of this nature indicates that the university is fully committed to stopping sexual assault. This encourages students to come forward after an assault.

Involving the community in situations like this is a valuable tool for a rapid response. The more students notified, the more likely someone is to have relevant information that can aid the police. Students even engaged on social media in an effort to track down the perpetrator. The police received information about the man soon after the alert, which led to an arrest.

Aside from a quick response, the university has many other resources aimed at preventing sexual assault. Freshman orientation features a presentation aimed at educating incoming students about sexual assault and the dangers of it. In addition, student leaders such as those in the Undergraduate Student Government are required to undergo sexual assault training. This requirement ensures that those who have it within in their power to influence change among students on campus are educated on the subject.

Considering the history of what has occurred on college campuses, it is critical that the University of Connecticut makes fighting this problem a top priority. Based on the programs and rules they have put in place and their strong response to the aforementioned incident, they are strongly committed to this. Hopefully, the student body continues to work with the university to learn more about how they can prevent sexual assault and create a safer environment for everyone on campus.