With school year just beginning, already 3 sexual assaults reported at U of I

One week into the new school year at the University of Illinois and a series of reported sexual assaults is raising concerns.

- One week into the new school year at the University of Illinois and a series of reported sexual assaults is raising concerns.

Police say there have been three sexual assaults reported in just the past two weeks, including two at fraternity houses.

"I think we’re all just kind of in shock. We're all saying wow, there is a lot (of this) happening,” said student Kotryna Staputyte.

Students returning to school at the University of Illinois are learning of a series of reported sexual assaults, with the first occurring on August 17th in an apartment in the 700 block of South Gregory in Urbana.

Just two days later, police say another sex assault was reported on campus inside and an unidentified fraternity house.

Then, last Thursday evening, another female student was allegedly assaulted inside a fraternity in the 1100 block of S. 1st St. in Champaign.

Police say alcohol appears to have been involved in all three reported incidents, and in two of the cases, the attacker and the victim were acquaintances.

"Any time we get an allegation of sexual assault, we take it seriously and it is concerning,” said Dean of Students Ken Ballom.

Ballom says the university has notified students and has multiple programs in place to combat sexual assault and encourage victims to report it.

And he says fraternities also play a role.

"The thing about having it happen allegedly in the fraternity is we have a connection with the fraternity system and individuals within, so that makes it actually I'd say easier for us to reach out and address the situation directly,” Ballom said.

"Sexual assaults across the nation we know is a very big concern. One in five females, studies say, may be assaulted while in college,” said U of I campus Police Chief Jeff Christensen.

Female students say even though the assaults appear to be unrelated, they're taking precautions.

"It happens everywhere. You have to be very careful and aware of your surroundings,” said student Miranda Gurra.

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