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Students On Edge After Rape

August 7, 2012, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Students On Edge After Rape

It's been four days since a college student was attacked and raped at Augustana College and people are still talking about the incident that has the entire campus on edge.      

That's because the suspect hasn't been caught yet.  Augustana was giving tours to high schoolers who are thinking about attending Augustana next fall. Faculty have been fielding a lot of questions about the sexual assault from concerned parents and students. But Augustana officials are doing all they can to try and make students feel safe.

School hasn't even started yet at Augustana, but students like Melissa Tuschen, who are here for the summer, are getting a lesson in safety.

"Honestly, I was kind of concerned for my own safety; I do walk around campus a lot on my own," Tuschen said.

Erin Schoenbeck is a senior this year. She says she's never worried about being attacked while on campus. 

"I was like, 'That's really weird that happened at Augie,' because I live like a block down that way, but I feel safe still," Schoenbeck said.

One of the safety measures Augustana has implemented are these call boxes. There are four of them spread around campus.  If anyone feels like they are in danger, all they have to do is hit the emergency button.

The college also offers an escort service for any student who doesn't want to walk alone. There are security cameras stationed all around campus. And Augustana always has at least two campus safety officers on duty 24/7.   In fact, the most recent attack was broken up by a campus safety officer after someone alerted him of the situation.

"I'd like to think that this incident with a more tragic outcome was really avoided," Dean of Students Jim Bies said.

"A lot of us don't think about taking a friend because it's Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  We have a small town type of feel," Tuschen said.

But as they now know, sometimes even small towns can experience big city crimes.

Police are still searching for the suspect. He's described as a white or Hispanic male, in his 20s. If you have any information about this case, you're asked to call police.

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