The Guild of Students of The University of the West Indies has called an emergency meeting for tomorrow, after a second-year female student escaped an attempted rape and robbery at the campus earlier today.
According to reports, the student was attacked near the female locker bathroom at the Student Activities Centre by an unknown assailant around 1 pm and was injured by her attacker before he fled.
Details are sketchy but the T&T Guardian was told the student struggled with her attacker after she was ambushed by him and was slashed on her leg with a knife he was armed with before he ran off as her screams alerted other students. The suspect later escaped through the campus' southern gate, which runs to the highway, as UWI security searched the compound for him. The UWI ambulance arrived shortly after and took the student to the campus health facility for treatment.
Reports of the attack were made public via a voice note from a concerned female student, who related the incident and warned her colleagues to be careful, especially at nights, due to the recent spate of attacks.
This prompted some students to launch a social media movement with the hashtag #morethananumber while tagging the university's handle, in an attempt to get the university authorities to deal with the security issues on the campus.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian earlier, Guild president Darrion Narine said, "Students are in an uproar over the incident that occurred today and they are demanding that more be done by the university's administration with regards to our safety. Members of the Guild have already met with the victim and we have offered her our support."
He added, "These traumatic experiences can negatively affect our students and their peace of mind. One student even remarked to me, 'somebody have tuh die or wah before admin start taking students seriously?"
Narine said concern was mounting amongst the student population after the university cut spending for security, despite the fact that criminal attacks against students has been on the increase over the years.
"If you are going to cut the budget of security on campus, the least that can be done is to reallocate those funds towards the criminology department or a department that can contribute a solution or towards the decline of the crime culture both on campus and nationally," Narine said.
"For too long the university has been a silent giant with regards to pressing social issues of both students and the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The university was once a powerhouse but clearly, they have lost the energy to power the house and to empower students."In the release, the Guild also said this latest incident was one in a series of six others happening over the past month which involved students being held at gunpoint on the campus. The Guild said they are yet to receive any statement from the administration in the wake of the latest incident.
The Guild called on the university to address the security issues on the campus, including implementing more functional security cameras, better lighting and increasing security protocols and patrols of key areas.
Tomorrow's meeting is carded for 1.30 pm at the SAC.University officials said they are not yet in a position to respond.
However, officers of the St Joseph Police Station said they are yet to receive any report on the incident.
- by Rishard Khan & Peter Christopher