|By Lauren Khine, Summer Times Staff Writer|
Summer session ended, alas, with more incidents of harassment of students by passing motorists and some possible thefts — but a big breakthrough: a license plate number of one of the suspected offending vehicles.
Last week, incidents involving a black pickup truck and racial and aggressive slurs marred the Exeter campus. According to Paul Gravel, head of Campus Safety, there have been four reports of similar events this week. In regards to the aforementioned black pickup truck, “police are actively investigating and released a warning statement about the truck,” Mr. Gravel said. As of Tuesday, the situation is an ongoing investigation, with no possible suspects.
Last Friday, July 26, students reported two incidents only two to three hours apart. The first took place on Front Street at the crosswalk. While not racially charged, derogatory statements were yelled at Exeter Summer students by passing drivers. Later, Campus Safety was dispatched to Wheelwright Hall, where racial slurs had been directed toward students. In both cases, license plates were not photographed, although the police department recognized the vehicle description from the second incident.
Two days later, on Sunday the 28th, five Exeter Summer students experienced an event downtown. A vehicle was driving by, and one of its passengers threw a bang snap at one of the students. The bang snap, which is a type of novelty fireworks, hit the student on the leg, categorizing the incident as assault.
“The students were great witnesses and were able to get a license plate number,” Mr. Gravel said. “Students are getting much better at getting information.”
On Monday 29th, just before 7:00 p.m., another Tan Lane incident occurred, according to Mr. Gravel. Exeter Summer students had curses yelled at them from a vehicle, seeming to parallel previous incidents.
All incidents have been reported to Mr. Gravel, who has in turn reported them to the Exeter Police Department. The Chief of Police has released a statement acknowledging all of the incidents, and police and Campus Safety have continued to investigate.
Three incidents of possible thefts this week were noted by Mr. Gravel, all minor. A wallet containing $300 in cash was reported missing, although the student affected did not know if it was stolen or lost. There was a reported calculator theft in Merrill Hall on July 26th, and on the 28th, a wallet in Webster Hall was also reported missing. In addition, a backpack is missing, hypothesized by Mr. Gravel as being related to another reported incident of theft.
As Exeter Summer 2019 session comes to a close, Mr. Gravel said police may need to reinterview students, and recommends reporting any incidents. He said it was critical to give as much information as possible to police and Campus Safety to help with current investigations.
Please call 603.777.4444 with any information on the aforementioned incidents or any additional ones.