Students are more cautious after multiple sexual assaults on campus

‘It kind of made me feel uneasy about being here’

+First-year+social+work+major+Keana+Quintero+outside+of+River+Front+Center+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+15.+Quintero+said+she+has+become+more+aware+of+her+surroundings+since+the+reporting+of+the+sexual+assaults.+

Jacob Peterson

First-year social work major Keana Quintero outside of River Front Center on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Quintero said she has become more aware of her surroundings since the reporting of the sexual assaults.

Jacob Peterson and Hailey Valdivia

After multiple sexual assaults reported on and near Sacramento State, students said they have started to be more aware of their surroundings on campus.

Since September, several reports of sexual assaults occurred on and around campus, as well as an incident of a woman being videotaped through a bathroom stall in a University Union restroom.

Fourth-year economics major Julia Mezentseva said knowing about the assaults had made her less comfortable being on campus.

“It kind of made me feel uneasy about being here, not during the day as much but at night, as I have night classes,” Mezentseva said. “I’m more aware than I was maybe last year about it.”

Mezentseva said she started carrying pepper spray and tried to get friends to walk with her around campus. She said she tries not to stay on campus any later than she has to and has started parking her car closer to campus in order to reduce the risk of being out in the dark.

The story continues below the photo. 

Fourth-year economics major Julia Mezentseva stands outside of the University Library on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. Mezentseva said she believed Sac State should be a safe place for its students. (Jacob Peterson)

Two other students who also adjusted their behavior on campus are graduate students, Gaby Meindl and Joanna Paniagua. They said the recent assaults were stressful and frightening because they each had classes at night.

“I keep pepper spray in my backpack and also have this flashlight,” Paniagua said. “For the masters program, most of our classes end pretty late so by the time we get out of class it’s super dark and there isn’t a lot of students.”

First-year social work major Keana Quintero said she was more aware of her surroundings after hearing about the incidents. She cited the Union bathroom incident as one that frightened her.

“I usually go to the library everyday to study and do my homework,” Quintero said. “When I go to the bathroom and I see a guy walking by I turn my back and I watch now, because you never know.”

I don’t think I’ve seen a single security guard on my walk home from my late night classes. ”

— Gaby Meindl

In a press conference held on Oct. 11 to address the assaults, Sac State Police Chief Chet Madison Jr. said police were thoroughly patrolling the campus. Despite this, Quintero has not noticed a stronger security presence on campus late at night.

“I have walked back alone at night before and there’s no one ever out here,” said Quintero. “I feel like getting more of the security guards that drive around in carts, maybe more of those or putting them in stations… just so there’s someone there, just in case anything happens.”

Meindl said she felt there needed to be more security late at night, especially with daylight savings making it dark out earlier.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a single security guard on my walk home from my late night classes,” Meindl said.

The story continues below the photo. 

(L-R) Graduate students Joanna Paniagua and Gaby Meindl standing outside the University Union Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. Paniagua and Meindl said their graduate classes are often late at night, with Paniagua saying she started carrying pepper spray with her on campus. (Jacob Peterson)

Both Meindel and Paniagua said they would also like to see more lighting on campus late at night. Anh Le, a first-year business major, also said she noticed how dark it gets on campus.

“We should have more lights; it’s pretty dark,” Le said. “Especially in the parking lot, it gets super dark. I don’t feel safe.”

Le said she wanted to see better communication about what resources students have available to them in regard to campus safety. Mezentseva added she wanted to know more about how the university is addressing these occurrences.

“They’re sending emails that it’s happening and the president is sending apology emails, but what are they doing?” Mezentseva said. “I want to know more about that.”