May 6, 2013
University of Virginia students up late at night studying for finals the next couple of weeks might be more alert after University Police receive an anonymous report about a sexual assault that happened early Friday morning.
Police say they were told at around 2:30 a.m. Friday at least two men dragged a woman to an isolated area near Valley Road and Brandon Avenue and sexually assaulted her.
The incident happened right near a group of academic buildings which in the middle of final exams, are packed with students studying late at night.
"I'm kind of surprised it happened during finals rather than not. Thursday night is usually a pretty big party night not during finals," said Sydney Huppert, a third-year student at UVa.
She lives on Brandon Avenue and says she's always felt safe on that street but Valley Road can be questionable at night because it's very dark.
"It's got a lot of trees and it isn't very well lit. There's a lot of houses on either side so you can't see all the houses because they're so many trees. If you haven't been down Valley before you'd probably think you got lost if you kept going down it,"
The area where the alleged sexual assault happened is right near a few academic buildings which is right where third-year student Nicole Bailey does all of her work.
"I'll be in these buildings working until 3 or 4 a.m. and they'll still be other students working as well as professors working in their offices," Bailey said. "And as someone who doesn't have a car, or an easy way to get back to my dorm afterwards, that can be really scary, the prospect of walking home after a long night of research."
An alleged sexual assault reported during a time when the partying slows down a bit and most students are staying up until all hours of the night preparing for final tests and papers.
"It's not really an option for me to not come here and study." Bailey said.
"There's point of the night where the bus isn't running anymore, SafeRide is unreliable, you don't want to pay for a cab if you live closeby and the only realistic option is for you to just walk."
And as for her test tonight, it goes until 10:00 p.m. and she says she'll be a little more alert walking home.
"I don't know these emails are really making me think that 10pm is a little late to be wakling back home alone."
University police are investigating the incident and ask you to call Crimestoppers at (434) 977-4000 or visit the UPD Silent Watch Program website www.virginia.edu/uvapolice/report_crime.html with any information one might have.