CCU students: School should have sent immediate sex assault alert

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) Many students at Coastal Carolina University say university officials should have notified them about an on-campus sex assault sooner than two days after the crime.

CCU Spokeswoman Martha Hunn tells WMBF News officials didn't think the crime warranted an automatic alert.

"The suspect was apprehended right around the area very quickly. There was not a need for a communication to the campus community because the threat was no longer imminent," said Hunn.

Police arrested a 20-year-old male student for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student early Sunday. They say it happened in the University Place apartments, technically on-campus housing.

"I would definitely want to know because I actually stay in [University Place], so that's kind of close to home and I want to know what's going on in my neighborhood so I can be in a safe environment," said freshman Shirice Lesane.

An e-mail went out to students on Tuesday afternoon, which reads in part, "On Sunday, March 25, University police arrested a CCU student, Donminique M. Cathcart, in connection with a reported assault of a CCU student. Cathcart was apprehended quickly after the call for help. He remains in J. Reuben Long Detention Center and will not be allowed on campus pending a university investigation."

Some students say the delayed message is too little too late.

"Right then they should have jumped on letting the students know what's going on in the community," said Lesane.

"I think they still should have let people know because usually we don't even know if stuff like that actually does happen on campus," said freshman Nicole Capitle.

According to Hunn, alerting students about on-campus crimes is a decision that's handled on a case-by-case basis. There is a listing of crimes on CCU's Public Safety Department website, but officials say an alert is typically only sent in emergency situations.

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