Police investigating sexual assault

Alyssa Coleman, News Editor

Finance and Administration Vice President Amy Buxbaum said Friday there is an ongoing investigation of a sexual assault last month on campus.

According to a report by campus police, a female student reported Jan. 28 being sexually assaulted by a non-student acquaintance Jan. 26 in Hemlock Hall.

Buxbaum said there was no email alert about the incident because the suspected assailant is not a student and does not affiliate with Pitt-Johnstown or pose an imminent threat to campus.

“When the campus police department receives a report of a crime, an assessment is made regarding whether a crime alert is required,” Buxbaum said.  

Buxbaum discussed the details of what happens as soon as a sexual assault is reported.

“In the immediate moment of a report, two things are evaluated. The first is if any medical treatment is needed.  Conemaugh (Memorial Medical Center) has nurses who are trained in sexual assault examinations,” she said.  

“The second is deciding whether or not there is an immediate threat to campus.”

After a student reports being involved a sexual misconduct victim, Buxbaum meets with the student and provides them with resources that they may need.

“I provide them with referrals to medical services and confidential counseling on and off campus,” she said. 

“This is something the campus (administrators) take very seriously. There are many things done to help students understand what consent means.

 “There are things such as online training, posters in residential halls and other educational programs.

“You need affirmative consent with clear words. An absence of ‘no’ does not mean consent.”

Buxbaum said academic support can be provided to the victim if needed, and no-contact orders can be filed if appropriate.

“There could be potential housing and scheduling changes if needed, and academic help provided to students to help them continue their academic progress if incidents impact their ability to attend class or complete work,” Buxbaum said. “Any complaint follows a specific procedure.”

Buxbaum said she could not comment on this case’s details due to the victim’s privacy and because the investigation is underway.

Campus Police Chief Eric Zangaglia was not available for comment.