Students, faculty and staff at Georgia Southern University did not receive an Eagle Alert after the armed robbery, home invasion and fatal shooting of a suspect that occurred at the Campus Evolution Apartments early Tuesday.
The Statesboro Police Department arrested one suspect, and a second was fatally shot. Third suspect fled the scene and has not been apprehended, as of the time of publication.
Some students at the complex and other nearby off-campus housing were unaware of the incidents.
“I didn’t even know there was a robbery, and I definitely saw the caution tape as I rode past there, and I live right in Copper Beach, so I’m right there next to it. I’m kind of mad,” Tremiecia Gresham, senior accounting major, said.
According to the 2016 Annual Security Report from the GS Division of Public Safety, the University is to release an Eagle Alert if an incident meets all of the following criteria:
A crime is committed.
The perpetrator has not been apprehended.
There is substantial risk to physical safety of other members of the campus community because of this crime.
In the event of an off-campus crime, the security report says that GS may release an Eagle Alert if the crime occurred in a location used and frequented by the University population.
Many students feel they should have received an Eagle Alert after the incidents on Tuesday.
“I feel duped because that’s my student fees at work that didn’t get used, and I feel like I was let down by UPD and Public Safety. They are just not really doing their job by letting us know about how to be safe,” Britney Brown, junior accounting major, said. “I could’ve been going on a walk, and [the suspects] could’ve attacked me. You never know. I go on late night walks all the time. It’s just not safe.”
Similarly, no Eagle Alert was sent during an armed robbery and an assault against a police officer near Chandler Road on Sept. 19, 2016. The University had released the following statement afterward:
“The presiding law enforcement officials deemed there was no continuing palpable threat to students or employees of Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern University has historically been proactive and over communicated with students, parents, faculty, and staff and in this case we failed to do so. University officials met this morning and will reconvene a discussion on when the Eagle Alert system is used. Georgia Southern University is committed to providing a safe environment on and around the University campus.”
As of publication, no statement has been released from the University regarding the lack of an Eagle Alert for Tuesday’s incidents.
“[The lack of an Eagle Alert] doesn’t feel good. They need to do better with alerting us about crime, since they can test them out, and we get all their Eagle Alert tests. We should be able to get an Eagle Alert when an actual crime is committed,” Jasmine Guerra, freshman business management major, said. “It’s really important to let students know what’s going on off campus and on campus when there’s a crime. It’s not safe. Someone’s still on the loose… I think that’s something students need to know about.”
University officials have been reached for comment.
Nakia Woodley and Preston Folsom contributed to this report.