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Public Safety alerts campus of alleged “date rape drug” incident

Elizabeth Worthington, News Co-Editor

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A report was filed last week about an alleged incident in which two females may have unknowingly consumed a “date rape drug” at an off-campus house in the late hours of Oct. 28. The two individuals reached out directly to University President John Bravman about the incident. The Department of Public Safety received an email detailing the allegations, and “treated that with the utmost seriousness,” according to Chief Steve Barilar.

Barilar sent out a campus-wide notification about the alleged incident via email on Nov. 2 in order to alert the community.

“After talking with a number of individuals, we were able to corroborate enough of the information in that email that we felt notifying students was the absolute right thing to do; maintaining the safety and well-being of our students is our number one priority,” Barilar said.

Barilar affirmed that although there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that an incident of sexual assault occurred, the alleged crime would still be treated with the appropriate severity.

Barilar also emphasized that identifying the location of the off-campus property where the incident allegedly took place does not implicate the residents of that property. Public Safety believes there were approximately 50 people at the property during the time of the alleged incident.

“The fact is there was a report of a very serious crime at that location, and we felt compelled to equip our students with as much information as possible in the interest of their safety,” Barilar said. Public Safety did speak with residents of the property before sending out the notification.

Since the alleged incident occurred off-campus, it is not subject to Clery Act requirements, a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime. However, the department decided to follow the law’s recommendations to provide information that promotes safety and preventive behaviors by stating in the email, “Bucknell is committed to holding accountable individuals who engage in such inexcusable conduct. At the same time, we want to take this opportunity to encourage students to always be aware of their environment, pour their own drinks and never leave a drink unattended.” Barilar maintained that similar preventative statements have been included in past campus notifications.

“For instance, if we receive reports of thefts from unlocked vehicles, we may remind individuals to lock their car doors,” Barilar said.

The investigation falls under the jurisdiction of the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department (BVRPD). The University provided known relevant information to BVRPD and the investigation is still ongoing.

Public Safety urges anyone with information on this incident, or any alleged crimes, to contact the Office of Public Safety at (570) 577-3333 or the BVRPD at (570) 524-5151.

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The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University
Public Safety alerts campus of alleged “date rape drug” incident