Summary of Events
At about midnight Saturday, September 26, 2015, several Reed students called Community Safety to report that a man they did not recognize was sexually harassing women at the dance party in the Student Union (SU). Community Safety Officers (CSOs) responded and a Reed student told them that the man in question had initiated unwanted physical contact with her. Two other students independently approached the CSOs and reported having seen a man fitting the same description harass and physically accost other female students. One of the witnesses led CSOs to the man, and CSOs asked the individual to leave the SU with them so they could follow up on the report.
CSOs determined that the man was a Lewis & Clark student, that he was visibly intoxicated, and that he could not provide the name of a Reed host. Because of the multiple reports about his troubling behavior, CSOs asked the man to leave campus and informed him that he was excluded from campus and would have to contact the Community Safety Director if he wanted to appeal the exclusion.
Several other people who were not Reed students accompanied the man. The group initially agreed to leave, and CSOs had begun to escort the group off campus when the individual who was accused of harassing Reed students stated that he would not leave and that he intended to fight. As is the standard practice for CSOs when asking people to leave campus, they did not call the police and instead tried to convince the individual to simply leave campus to avoid any further conflict. The individual refused to leave and then physically attacked two CSOs who, up to that point, had not used any force with the individual. Because of the unprovoked violent behavior, which included kicking one of the CSOs in the chest, CSOs resorted to using pepper spray to stop the attack.
Immediately after the individual stopped attacking, the CSOs began to administer first aid to alleviate the effects of the pepper spray. At that time, CSOs also called 911 and asked for both a medical and police response. The request for a medical response related to the concern that some individuals have strong negative reactions to pepper spray that can result in breathing difficulty, and a medical evaluation is a prudent safety precaution. The request for a police response was because the individual had violently attacked two CSOs, and was accompanied by several friends who refused to leave campus and had become verbally aggressive.
Police arrived on the scene before medical staff and took over the response from the CSOs. The individual who had been pepper sprayed continued to demand water. The police explained, as had the CSOs, that after the initial rinse administering more water had the potential to be counterproductive. While the police attempted to address the situation, and before medical response arrived, the individual once again became violent, physically attacking the police, who eventually used a Taser to subdue him. After medical responders confirmed the individual did not need medical attention, the police transported the individual off campus.
The incident is under investigation as a violation of Title IX and the Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (DHSM) policy in relation to the assaults on Reed students. Lewis & Clark officials have been notified and are reviewing the incident independently.
Again, Reed students, staff and faculty are welcome to gather in the Chapel at noon on Monday for a facilitated community conversation about the incident, and the way forward.