The UC Davis student who said she was sexually assaulted on campus Nov. 26 has retracted her claim. However, increased safety measures and the investigation into an earlier assault of another student are continuing, and administrators and police continue to urge the campus community to take common sense precautions to ensure their safety.
The false report was made Nov. 26, with the student asserting she was awakened in the early morning by a man with a knife who forced her from her off-campus residence to a balcony of the Social Sciences and Humanities Building where she said she was sexually assaulted.
UC Davis Police Chief Calvin Handy would not speculate on the woman's motivation for fabricating an assault. But since there was no malicious intent on the part of the woman, he said, no charges will be filed against her.
At a news conference Monday evening, Handy reiterated that the sexual assault and attempted rape that was reported on Nov. 19 is still an on-going investigation. As a result, the UC Davis Police Department will continue to increase its patrols of the Social Sciences and Humanities Building - site of the Nov. 19 sexual assault and attempted rape that remains under investigation - the residence halls and the core campus area.
On Sunday, Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, in a letter to students, faculty and staff, indicated the campus would step up its efforts to increase safety on campus. Those efforts include improving lighting, addressing the architectural features of the Social Sciences and Humanities Building that present security challenges, and adding self-defense classes if demand warrants, he said.
Those actions are still needed and appropriate, he said on Tuesday.
"While this latest report of a sexual assault has proven untrue - and I'm deeply concerned for our student who felt a need to fabricate an assault - the fact remains that we must do all we can as a community to best ensure one another's safety," Vanderhoef said.
"Our physical environment is one important part of that equation, as is helping to increase awareness of safety issues and providing appropriate support programs. We must do all we can to provide the safest environment possible for our students, staff and faculty."
Jennifer Beeman, director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program, said she was "relieved this awful ordeal didn't happen" but concerned that this false report would make it harder for those who are victimized to come forward.
"My greatest fear is that this may affect our perception of other women reporting sexual assaults," she said. "False reporting of sexual assault is rare and this incident should in no way reflect on others who report."
Shelley Chavoor, a clinical psychologist at the UC Davis Counseling Center, said many factors may contribute to a person making an unfounded report. Those factors include:
- When a person's coping skills are exhausted to the point that he or she simply makes bad choices;
- Life experiences that may predispose individuals to not handle stress well, so any added stress in their lives can make them feel overwhelmed; and
- Relationship issues that may precipitate a person's issuing a false report to express their anger toward someone in the family.
Echoing that false reporting of victimization is rare, she noted that women are more likely than men to express underlying conflict in that manner. "A male might express conflict through more aggressive acting out - for instance, drinking or picking a fight," she said.
The student involved in the Nov. 26 report is being provided counseling and support by UC Davis Counseling Services, Handy said.
He emphasized: "Safety is everybody's business. We must all care for each other, take precautions and not be lulled into a false sense of security."
Handy encouraged staff and faculty members and students to become especially mindful of campus safety services and programs, which include:
Safety escorts and rides - Escort Services provides escorts 5 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. during the regular academic year. It operates to addresses within about a quarter-mile of campus. To request the service, call (530) 752-1727.
Patrol services - The police de-partment provides 24-hour patrol of the campus, with particular attention to residence halls, where there also is an "Adopt-a-Building" program, in which an officer serves as liaison for the building.
Sexual assault and hate crimes - The Campus Violence Prevention Program provides 24-hour advocacy, crisis intervention and educational programming aimed at reducing incidents of sexual violence, relationship violence and hate. For details, call (530) 752-3299.
Crime prevention - The crime prevention unit conducts safety and security surveys and presents programs on topics ranging from drug awareness to personal safety. Call (530) 752-0629 or e-mail CrimePrevention@UCDavis.edu.
Crime alerts - Anyone may subscribe to a service that alerts them when the UC Davis police have issued a bulletin about significant criminal activity on campus. See http://police.ucdavis.edu/SUBPAGE/AlertBulletins1.htm.
Aggie Hosts - Identifiable by their bright yellow polo shirts or windbreakers and their photo ID badges, Aggie Hosts are undergraduate student employees of the police department. Hosts patrol the campus, assist in the enforcement of building-use policies and can immediately summon aid.
Also, several tips for staying safe are located at http://police.ucdavis.edu/crimeprevention/personal_security.pdf.
Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932, email@example.com