A student-reported assault in Weill Hall initiated a University Department of Public Safety and Security crime alert Wednesday afternoon.
The student was in the University restroom when a male suspect “forcibly hugged her,” before she could escape from the scene, according to the alert. The incident occurred around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday. A handmade “out of order” sign was placed on the bathroom door by the suspect.
DPSS spokeswoman Diane Brown said the sign prompted the campus-wide alert.
“Having someone give you an unwanted hug is indeed an assault and it’s very disturbing for the individual,” she said. “(The) out of order sign was the more alarming aspect, and was why then it came to be appropriate to send out a crime alert as opposed to just informing people within that building.”
Brown said the day delay in sending the crime alert was to allow officers to gather more information pertinent to public safety, such as the out of order sign.
Though the the victim was hugged without her consent, the act does not legally constitute sexual assault as she was not touched inappropriately, Brown said.
Witnesses described the suspect as a clean-shaven male with medium brown hair appearing to be about 20 years old and 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches in height, according to the alert. He was reported to be wearing jeans and a plaid green jacket.
Correction appended: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported the crime was a sexual assault. The story has been updated to reflect the true nature of the crime.