The Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams is urging students and staff at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus to exercise extra vigilance in the wake of a reported sexual assault of a young woman last week.
“It is particularly disturbing that this attack took place in the afternoon when more people would have been moving about the campus than at other times,” Williams said.
In condemning the attack on the student in the vicinity of one of the campus’ restrooms, Minister Williams said students should not have to walk anywhere on the compound with a sense of fear and apprehension. “This is a brazen and shameful act,” she added.
She is urging the UWI administration to revisit its security arrangements to provide greater assurance to staff, students and visitors that there are adequate and properly functioning security arrangements in place.
She said: “Sexual violence against women and girls is too prevalent in our country. It is imperative that we pursue effective and practical ways to increase security arrangements and emotional support”.
Williams noted that subsequent to the attack on May 5, the university has reported that further plans are underway to speed up the installation of additional surveillance cameras and panic alarms in more areas on the campus.
“This is absolutely necessary and should be prioritised,” she said.
The UWI earlier this week confirmed the rape of the student on the campus.
In a news release, the university said the incident occurred at approximately 2 pm in a restroom in the vicinity of the Annex and Senate buildings.
The incident was immediately reported to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and a team was deployed to the campus to investigate, the university said, noting that it takes the matter very seriously and is providing all the relevant assistance to the police to apprehend the perpetrator.
The university also said it is providing psychosocial support for the student, and that the investigation is ongoing with both the JCF and campus security team pursuing active leads.
Deputy Principal of the Mona Campus, Professor Ian Boxill stated that “The wellbeing of our students is our top priority. Since the occurrence of the incident, the campus has taken steps to provide all the necessary psychosocial support that is critical at this time. We have reached out to the family of the student and will continue to dialogue, as we continue to support our student in this difficult time”.