Two middle-aged white men in a blue vehicle at the intersection of Washington Street and High Street verbally harassed and spit on an Asian-identifying student on Tuesday, March 30. The incident occurred at 6:10 p.m., minutes after students concluded a campus vigil for the eight lives lost, six of them Asian women, in the Atlanta shootings.
In a campus-wide email sent by the Office of Public Safety (PSafe) on the night of the incident, Director of PSafe Scott Rohde detailed that the two men slowed their vehicle near the student, yelled racial slurs at him and spit in his direction.
“Upon receiving the call from the student, Public Safety responded to the student’s residence immediately,” Rohde wrote in an email to The Argus. “It was determined that the student wanted the incident reported to the police. Middletown Police and Public Safety interviewed the student jointly to collect pertinent data and a description of the suspect vehicle and occupants. Officers then checked the area for the car but were not able to locate it.”
In the same email, Rohde wrote that the vehicle left the area potentially to head downtown.
Rohde told The Argus that the Middletown Police Department is actively investigating the incident. He added that no license plate number was obtained for the vehicle, but that Middletown Police are currently reviewing cameras in the area to determine if any useful data can be retrieved.
Rohde emphasized that PSafe is doing everything it can to keep students safe.
“Public Safety is providing extra preventative patrols, considering expanding RIDE hours, and increasing the number of RIDE stops as an extra layer of visibility and protection,” Rohde wrote in an email to The Argus.
He also strongly urged students to be proactive about safety.
“Report any suspicious activity promptly, if in doubt, report it. Take a picture or recording if possible. Always walk in groups when able, carry your cell phone and use the RIDE,” Rhode wrote.
AAPI student organizers Julia Kan ’22, Emily Moon ’21, and Chaiyeon Lee ’22, in association with the Asian American Student Collective (AASC), are creating a network for students to get around campus safely. If students are in need of a walking buddy, a running buddy, a ride, etc., they can join a GroupMe chat linked in the AASC Instagram. Students can contact Lee at email@example.com and Moon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Anyone who has information relevant to the incident should call Public Safety at 860-685-2345.
“If you see suspicious activity or encounter any concerning circumstances, please report it immediately,” Rohde wrote to students in the March 30 email. “In the event of a life-threatening emergency contact 9-1-1 right away.”
Rachel Wachman can be reached at email@example.com