EWU Police Say They’ve Received Several Reports of Sexual Assault This Quarter


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By Cannon Barnett, Reporter

Five students have reported being sexually assaulted on Eastern Washington University’s campus already this quarter, according to police. Three more reported being given “date rape drugs” last week, police say.

EWU Police Chief Jewell Day said that the number of sexual assault reports seems to be high, even compared to pre-pandemic conditions, though the number of reports does naturally fluctuate each year.

Two of the assaults have resulted in campus police referring charges to Spokane County prosecutors, though Day said prosecutors declined to file charges on one of the cases. The individuals involved in three of the other reports have elected to not proceed with pressing charges, and the two most recent date rape cases are under an ongoing investigation.

Day says that the first four of these reports, which were the subject of a staff and student wide email sent Sept. 28, were all isolated instances, one of which involved a couple of people who had been in a pre-existing relationship.

There was another email sent out to staff and students on Nov. 2 concerning reports of date rape drugs in two fraternities, which you can read a summary of here.

“We’re always in the business of educating our students and giving them enough information to make informed decisions to keep themselves safe.” -Jewell Day, EWU Police Chief

“Any time that we have things happen that we deem to be of a threatening nature to our campus community, we’re always in the business of educating our students and giving them enough information to make informed decisions to keep themselves safe, as well as to give them tips to help navigate those situations as well,” Day said of the emails. 

Survivors who choose not to go the criminal route are referred by campus police to our student care team, who help to get them in touch with various resources on and off campus. They are also referred to on-campus counseling and wellness.

Day claims that EWU Police aims to help prevent future instances of sexual assault on campus through education as much as possible.

“We have put on a few self-defense classes at various locations on campus, we are in the process of redeveloping our healthy relationship class… we are just trying the be visible, and be out there and build bridges with our students so that they know, ‘hey, we are a resource for you,’” said Day. 

He also mentioned the “Eagle Walks” service offered, where an officer will come and escort students to their car or residence hall in the case that they feel unsafe.

“Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you see something that isn’t right, shine a light on it and let folks know,” Day said. “It could be as simple [as going] ‘you know what, I am just going to position myself right here. I am just going to be in the area so that I know you see me, and I’m not going anywhere until you make a decision to go and do something else.’” 

“There is nothing that says you can’t inquire of the individual involved, ‘hey, are you okay?’… you may [give] them a lifeline that they didn’t know that they had.”

Day emphasized that sexual assault does not define a person, and that power should always be given back to the survivor as much as possible. He said people should be empathetic to survivors of sexual assault and that they should be asked if they want to file a police report or talk to someone from the student care team. 

“The last thing that we ever want to do is victimize a person,” Day said.