From WILL - News Headlines -

University Town Hall Meeting to Address Campus Violence

University of Illinois officials are holding a forum Saturday afternoon to address the U of I's response to the recent wave of campus violence.

On Monday, a student was sexually assaulted in a dormitory bathroom. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renée Romano said that attack prompted U of I officials to organize the meeting, which she hopes will help inform parents about what they can do to protect students.

"Students are in a lot of contact with their parents," Romano said. "So parents can remind their students to lock their doors, remind their students to use safe walks, to walk with friends, to use safe rides, and that sort of thing."

The university in recent weeks has agreed to hire more police officers, installed dozens of security cameras, and activated a call center where operators who can answer questions about the attacks. Romano added that she hopes this town hall meeting will encourage students to come forward if they witness violence.

"If they report a crime or if they see something suspicious, and perhaps they've been drinking," she said. "They're not going to get a drinking ticket."

U of I Police Chief Barbara O'Connor reported that police have made more than 25 arrests related to the campus assaults and robberies.

The town hall meeting will start Saturday at 3pm at the Illini Union's Courtyard Cafe. The event will be streamed live at http://illinois.edu/here_now/videos.html as well as for viewing at a later time. Questions may be phoned in during the meeting at 217-244-8938.