Austin Peay students shocked by on-campus attack

(Photo: WKRN)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Students on the Austin Peay State University campus returned to class as normal Friday after an alleged attack on-campus.

A female student reported that a man attacked her from behind as she walked near the Browning Building near College Street on campus Thursday afternoon.

Classes on campus were cancelled earlier in the day after a car wreck knocked out power to much of campus.

According to an emergency alert sent to students around 5 p.m., a female student was attacked from behind and suffered minor injuries before fighting off her attacker.

The suspect ran away. He is described as a black male who is 5 feet 5 inches tall and was last seen wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and gray pants.

“It is a little concerning because it happened in broad daylight in the middle of campus,” nursing student Katie Anderson said. “Everyone walks by the Browning Building all the time.”

Other students said the attack surprised them because on-campus violence is a rare occurrence.

According to the TBI Crime on Campus report 2015, there were a total of 24 assaults on campus in 2014. Ten of those were listed as simple assault and only two were classified as aggravated assault.

“Our campus is a really safe,” APSU Director of Public Relations Bill Persinger said. “The biggest issue we have to worry about on our campus and other campuses are thefts of opportunity.”

Persinger described those as situations where students leave backpacks, cellphones, computers or other valuables unattended and they are stolen.

Around campus, students have ways to contact campus police for help when they are in trouble or if they need other types of assistance, like an escort to their car.

“We have free standing phones throughout the campus,” Persinger said. “They have a blue light on top of them and you just walk up and press the button.”

He continued, “It is an intercom system you can talk directly to police dispatch through”

The emergence notification system also sends critical messages about campus security to cell phones, computers, Facebook, Twitter and email.

“I am fine on campus. I really don’t have any issues or heard of anyone who has issues with campus safety,” Sophomore Verlene Richard said.

The investigation is ongoing.

If you have any information about the assault on campus call APSU Campus Police at 931-221-7786.

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