Student disables attacker on campus

A student escaped a sexual assault attempt early Saturday morning by spraying her attacker in the face with pepper spray, University police said in a press release Saturday.

At about 5:20 a.m., two unknown men approached the 18-year-old student while she was sitting outside Meriam Library listening to music. As she began to walk home, one of them started following her.

Upon reaching the Physical Sciences Building, the man tried to sexually assault the student, according to the release.

She was able to subdue the attacker by using pepper spray she kept in her purse. She sprayed him in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. The student then fled to her residence.

The student was not injured during the attack and was able to notify police after arriving at her home.

The suspect was described as a tall, thin black man in his 20s with a tattoo under one eye, according to the release. He has not been identified, and neither of the men are believed to be students.

During late-night hours, students should use the most commonly traveled paths on campus, said Emily Peart, the coordinator of Safe Place, a program that offers counseling to students who have been affected by sexual assault. Students should also be aware of the nearest blue light phones, emergency call boxes with a direct line to university police.

“Always walk in those well-lit areas and have your cellphone ready,” Peart said.

Sexual assaults represent a persistent concern for college students, Peart said. One in four college women are affected by sexual violence.

The incident is still under investigation, said Lt. Corinne Beck, of the university police. Police are asking anyone with information about the attack to call 530-898-5555.


Nicholas Carr can be reached at[email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter