From AP - News Headlines -

U of I Activates Call Center Following Campus Attacks

A string of campus assaults and robberies in recent weeks has led the University of Illinois to activate its campus call center for the first time.

The latest incident involved a U of I freshman who was sexually abused Monday morning in a dormitory shower. University police Chief Barbara O'Connor said just in the last day, the university has been flooded with about a hundred e-mail and phone messages regarding that attack.

"You know, whenever we get parent calls and or e-mails, we attempt to take an individualized approach to responding to those, but at some point, the volume becomes so significant that you can't keep doing that any longer," O'Connor said. "We're at that point."

She said the call center will allow the university to give plenty of attention to each caller, and give university police more time to investigate criminal activity.

"We can get inundated so much so that the work of doing the investigation can get bogged down in responding to e-mails and phone calls," O'Connor explained.

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the 60 volunteers who have agreed to help out at the call center work in student affairs, and have extensive experience handling privacy issues. They were each required to go through a 90-minute training session before they could start working the phones.

The U of I community is encouraged to forward all messages regarding crime and safety on campus to 217-333-0050.