“Last night [Tuesday] there was a tremendous amount of activity in this area between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.” Virginia Commonwealth University Police Chief John Venuti [above, audio only] ain’t kidding. “A group of about 15 young people believed to have punched one passerby and robbed and beaten another in rapid succession on Virginia Commonwealth University’s main downtown Richmond campus,” timesdispatch.com reports. “The first victim, who is not a VCU student, reported being punched without provocation by a member of the group while getting out of a vehicle at Shafer and West Grace streets. Moments later, the group encountered the second victim . . .
a VCU student, at Shafer and West Franklin streets. The student told police one member of the group made a comment about his boots before he was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.
Once on the ground, the student was allegedly was told by one of the assailants, “Give me everything you’ve got.” The student was punched again, this time in the neck, and a pack of cigarettes was stolen from his pants pocket, police said . . .
The attacks came just days after students had returned to campus for the start of the fall semester and at a time when VCU Police Chief John Venuti is undertaking several measures to increase security. Classes start today, a university spokesman said.
“This is not the start of the semester that we were looking for,” Venuti said.
But it could be the start of a trend: more students carrying a concealed firearm on campus in Virginia. This after VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an opinion striking down the University of Virginia’s policies that prohibited concealed carry in the school’s buildings, and, by extension, the school’s campus.
That said . . .
I don’t think the Virginia Commonwealth has updated its policies to fall into line with the AG’s opinion. In the school’s rules and procedures, under the heading The Right to Academic Freedom and to Equal Educational and Occupational Access, the University dictates that “no person, either singly or in concert with others, shall willfully:”
Have in his or her possession any firearm, other weapon, or explosive, regardless of whether a license to possess the same has been issued, without the written authorization of the president of the University.
I wonder how many times that’s happened. Anyway, as the VCU alumnus writing at libertymanure.com pointed out back in ’09, the above is an administrative code, not criminal. And VCU is an urban campus with a large footprint with some 30k students.
Which also makes it a bitch to police. Back to the Times Dispatch:
Freshmen roommates Justin Clary, 17-year-old from Colonial Heights, and John Navis, 18, from New Kent, also said they hadn’t seen the alert from campus officials. However, both said they had been given plenty of instruction about safety on campus, including avoiding walking around in unlit areas late at night by themselves.
“I feel like if you’re smart around here, you don’t have to worry about anything,” said Clary, who plans to major in biology.
The department is hiring 10 new officers, which would expand the force to 92, including some who will patrol on bicycles, and has hired G4S, a private security firm, to patrol at night in sport utility vehicles with flashing yellow lights. Venuti also is overseeing upgrades in VCU’s video surveillance capabilities on campus.
Yes, yes. Just once I’d like to hear a campus police spokesman advise students [who are legally allowed to do so] to tool-up—with pepper spray if nothing else—and warn potential perps that students are not soft targets. Instead we get this from VCU Police Chief John Venuti:
“It’s our responsibility to protect our students regardless of what choices they make, regardless of what actions they take.”
Infantilize much? Not helping . . .
[NOTE: Reports indicate that the attackers were African American. I will delete any comments highlighting or discussing this fact as off-topic.]