A student was sexually assaulted Saturday while walking in the parking lot of an off-campus apartment, according to a University crime alert sent out Monday evening.

While University Police often release crime alerts regarding off-campus sexual assaults with information from the Ann Arbor Police Department, University Police said they weren’t made aware of a sexual assault reported to the AAPD on Saturday until an inquiry by The Michigan Daily on Sunday afternoon.

According to UMPD, the student was walking in an apartment parking lot at about 10 p.m. Saturday on East University Ave. near Hill St. when an unknown male approached her and grabbed her buttocks before riding away on a bicycle.

The suspect is described as a 5-foot-9-inch, middle-aged black male who was wearing a blue hat, shorts and a gray T-shirt at the time of the incident.

UMPD is classifying the assault as fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which is a misdemeanor.

In an interview with the Daily before the crime alert was sent, the student said a UMPD officer called her to explain there would be no public alert sent out because University Police didn’t have enough information about the incident.

However, when asked Sunday whether an alert would be sent out, University Police said the Daily’s inquiry was the first they had heard of the incident. Shortly after, a crime alert was sent out.

The student’s name is being withheld at her request and in accordance with Daily policies regarding survivors of sexual assault.

The student questioned whether a crime alert should be sent out because she was concerned about the safety of the other members of her apartment building.

“I’m wondering what has to be deemed dangerous enough to get an alert,” she said.

According to the Clery Act, the University is required to send out crime alerts only when a crime, considered to be a public safety threat, occurs on campus. In the past, UMPD has gone beyond its jurisdiction and released alerts about crimes that occurred nearby and are considered threats to public safety.

In order to receive information about crimes that occur off campus, University Police said they must establish relationships with AAPD. Past incidents, including the delayed discovery of repeated sexual assaults at a Zaragon Place apartment, shed light on communication issues between the University and the city.

AAPD is not required to volunteer the information and, unlike the University, does not employ a full-time public information officer to coordinate with media and make the public aware of dangers to public safety.

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