Share this article

print logo

GATHERING ADDRESSES ISSUES IN COMMUNITY

More than 100 gathered in the Williams Center of Fredonia State College Wednesday night vowed to "Take Back the Night."

The program was fashioned after a peaceful rally and march at the college last year, in response to attempted rapes, racial incidents and a male intruder inside campus dormitories.

Currently, a task force made up of students, police, college and community officials are tackling underage drinking, loitering, and assaults in the Water Street bar strip.

Also, village Police Chief Daniel Johnson confirmed during the program Wednesday night that a 21-year-old woman was abducted by two men outside a Water Street bar on Oct. 10, then driven to the parking lot at Forestville Central School, where she was raped and beaten. The victim, the chief said, was not a Fredonia State student. Johnson said his department and Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department are investigating the case.

"Are there any suspects," a female student asked. "Can I feel safe or are these people still out there?"

Johnson said there is a suspect.

"A car has been confiscated and we are fairly sure it was used in the incident. It is being processed as evidence and no arrests will be made until we feel we are ready to present the case to a grand jury."

"We are fairly sure of who was driving the car."

Johnson urged the students to walk in groups whenever possible and curtail drinking so "you are responsible for your own actions."

Dennis Hefner, president of the college, said he opposes all-you-can-drink promotions offered by bars.

Allegations of racism also were addressed during the gathering.

Kahan Sablo, the school's director of multicultural affairs, noted that he was hired in response to racial slurs against students on campus.

"By the time I settled in here, I had already been called a 'nigger' twice," said Sablo, adding that verbal assaults occurred in downtown Fredonia.

"It's difficult, but it's especially difficult when you are the director of multicultural affairs," he said. "These incidents hurt me."

The Williams Center forum occurred following a candlelight march from the campus to downtown and back.

There are no comments - be the first to comment