York students on edge after latest sex assault

Students at York University are calling for beefed-up safety measures after a woman was sexually assaulted just outside the campus near the Keele Steet early Wednesday morning.

The incident took place in an area near Finch Avenue in an area know for having a high concentration of student housing.

The latest attacks comes a week after a man was sentenced to eight years in prison for raping two women at the York University residences nearly three years ago.

The York Federation of Students said they want the university to take actions to ensure the safety of women around the campus.

“Students are petrified. They’ve been calling and emailing me saying we need to do something,” vice president of campaigns and advocacy for the Federation, Darshika Selvasivam, said.

She added that due to previous assaults, women students were concerned about taking evening classes at York and the latest incident only heightened those concerns.

Keith Marnoch, a spokesman for York University, said that the university is working to make its campus as safe as possible.

“Our concern on security is on-going; it’s not just looked at when we have an incident.”

Marnoch added that latest incident was off school grounds and beyond York’s control.

“We are aware of the surrounding communities that we deal with, but our focus is making our campuses as safe as they can be,” he explained.

He said there are a number of safety programs accessible to students.

“We have the Why Work Alone program where if someone’s working late in a building where they don’t feel secure, security can be available to them if they want to leave the area.”

York University also runs the goSAFE program at the Keele campus, where students can ride a shuttle bus that can take them to their destinations in and around the campus from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Selvasivam said that university needs to extend goSAFE’s routes.

“It’s not a program that’s been improved,” she said, “it’s actually been cut back, because of budget and funding cuts. This is unacceptable; students can’t be suffering like this.”

For more information on goSAFE program visit www.yorku.ca/gosafe/