Bishop Hall residents react to news of assault in their dorm

Bishop Hall residents react to news of assault in their dorm

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Editors Note: Due to the sensitivity of the topic, several students interviewed asked to keep their identities concealed. It is the editor’s decision to honor their request.

Story by Liza Rodriguez

Texas A&M University – Kingsville became the site of a female student’s nightmare when a Resident Advisor (RA) in Bishop Hall, a female only dorm hall, discovered a student had been assaulted and tied to a shower stall in the south second floor restroom after a student reported that she suspected a male was in the bathroom.

While the University Police Department and Kingsville City Crime Stoppers are already looking into an Investigation there has not been much stir within the student community. Several students questioned were not aware that the incident had occurred.

“It happened in Bishop? I live in Bishop and I didn’t know!” Senior Maggie Ramirez said, “I live in the first wing and since that wing is 21 (years old) and up, it’s usually quiet.”

Freshman Casey Parlamas lives on the floor where the assault occurred and was not aware about it. “It happened in this floor? Wow I didn’t know, I’m kind of creeped out now,” said Parlamas. “I live alone and I go shower at two in the morning. It’s creepy I don’t even know what to think anymore.”

Perhaps the most ironic thing about the whole situation is how the second floor RA’s door is located just across of the restroom where the female student was assaulted.

“It’s sad that it happened and it’s such a shame that we couldn’t have found her sooner,” one RA who requested to remain anonymous said. “There’s not really much we could have done to prevent it, we do our rounds every hour and now we increased it to two rounds an hour with two RA’s walking around and checking all the bathroom stalls.”

“Being an RA, we can’t do everything on our own. As students we have to be very proactive about situations like this,” she said.

Some students disagree and feel that RA’s should do more to ensure the safety of the dorm.

“The RA’s don’t do their job, I don’t see them,” said a Bishop Hall resident who wished to remain nameless. “I don’t feel safe anymore.”

Jessica Castellano, another resident at the dorm,  had the same perspective.

“I’m going to have to make sure my door is always locked,” said Castellano.  “I’m not going anywhere by myself anymore.”

According to AMK administration staff, an email was sent out to students about the event through student email accounts in accordance to the “Timely Notice”  provision of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998. At last week’s President’s Roundtable, the topic of the email accessibility was brought up by students and addressed by CIS who said that the email system was not working properly.

Most students questioned though said they found out through rumors and Facebook.

“We don’t really check our emails,” freshman Victoria Medina said. “We found out through our music theory tutor that lives in Martin Hall.”

Another student who wished to remain anonymous said that she found out through her friend on Monday morning.

“I saw some girl put up on Facebook if anybody knew what had happened,” Senior Yvette Berlinga said.

Berlinga who lives in Lynch Hall said that she decided to move from Bishop after having bad experiences at Bishop her freshman year.

“There used to be a group of guys that would stand by the back entrance and just break the door and walk in.” Berlinga said.

The incident has also sparked concerns from parents as well.

“Well now I’m very concerned about my daughter living here, I thought it was safe,” said a mother who was in Bishop Hall helping her daughter move out for the semester.“Thank God the semester is over.”

Although there are security cameras present, safety at Bishop Hall continues to be a concern for the female residents.
There are eight cameras located in the building, all of which are in the first floor only. All the cameras are located near an entrance. While some halls are brightly lit like the first floor, most halls including the one where the incident occurred are dark, gloomy and quiet. Outside of the Bishop –Turner Hall Building stands an emergency UPD service phone and all students are encouraged to use it.

Editor in Chief of the South Texan at Texas A&M University - Kingsville