Sexual assault reported on UNL campus amid Halloween celebrations across Lincoln

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department is sharing a safety message following a reported sexual assault on campus.

Officials say the attack happened northwest of 12th and R Streets, near the Sheldon Museum of Art between midnight and 6 a.m. on Sunday.

The man police are searching for still has not been identified.  All police are saying is that he’s a short white man, between 19 and 22 years old, who has dark hair.

UNL Police say they try to maintain a visible presence on campus when not detailed to specific calls.

But some students said they think police should be doing more to up security, especially at night.

“I think UNLPD should be outside at night, especially during Halloweekend,” student Sara Al-Yasser said. “I know people like going out and having fun and partying, but someone could be drunk and not consent and then something happens. I honestly think there should be security at night.”

Students also said there are a lot of people who go out on weekends to bars and in the Greek Row area and think someone should be out there in that area to ensure safety.

“It’s nice at night, so people want to go out and spend time outside,” Al-Yasser said. “But no one’s gonna be doing that if there’s someone going around assaulting people.”

One student, Lyla Zornic, said she thinks that in addition to more officers out walking around campus, there should be more lights installed in dark areas.

Zornic said she’s planning to be more cautious when going out for Halloween.

“I plan on walking out in a group, I’m not gonna go by myself anymore on campus, especially at night,” she said. “I’m gonna make sure that my roommates and my mom is aware of where I’m at and where I’m going, the address of the location and the duration I should be there.”

UNL Police are also passing along safety tips to help everyone within the community take necessary precautions.

They said any students going to Halloween gatherings should use the buddy system and be aware of where their friends are throughout the night.

Anyone drinking should get a ride home with a designated driver or ride-hailing app, and anyone who does drive should be extra cautious of pedestrians.

Police also say you should make your cellphone is fully charged before leaving home.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says Halloween poses unique risks when it comes to sexual violence.

Parties and gatherings can create environments that increase attacks.  There are also trauma triggers for survivors, like dark lighting and fearful screams.

That’s why the nonprofit says it’s critical for everyone to normalize setting boundaries around this holiday.

UNL Police stress the importance of trusting your instincts if something doesn’t feel right. Safety is more important than a party or upsetting someone, so it’s OK to go home if you’re uncomfortable.

They offer the Husker Safe Walk, a program that will provide an escort to all members of the community upon request.

To request an officer or contact the UNL Police, they can be reached at 402-472-2222

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