Uber horror story sheds light on OWU safety

Updated April 15, 2019

By Leah Crawford

Transcript correspondent


OWU students have begun re-evaluating their feeling of safety when traveling on campus, following the kidnapping and murder of a female student who mistook the wrong car for her Uber at the University of South Carolina.

“What happened to that girl in South Carolina is unthinkably tragic and so scary to imagine.” senior Elise Duldner said.  “I use Uber to get home from the bar several times in a month because I’m uneasy walking home. If Uber’s aren’t safe any more it makes me wonder what our school and local law enforcement actually do to keep us safe from situations like this.”

After hearing from female students on campus, OWU Public Safety (PS) and the Delaware Police Department (DPD), there is a clear disconnect in the sense of security felt on campus between the students and those in authority.  Many students question or doubt OWU’s efforts to protect students while on nights out.

“I don’t believe Ohio Wesleyan is doing its best to keep women safe here on campus,” sophomore Caroline Hancock said.  “Especially when it’s a Saturday night and women are walking home from the bar on a dimly lit street such as Spring Street.  This is a real issue that we face every weekend, which sketchy street are we going to walk down this time to get home?”

Spring Street is the most direct route from downtown Delaware to the residential side of campus where most students live. This street is known amongst students as being the most dangerous street to walk down on the weekends. Women are advised almost immediately when they arrive to campus as freshmen to avoid this street and walk almost any other route home.  

Chief Robert Wood, who has been head of PS for 13 years, assures students that while situations like those in South Carolina are tragic, they are extremely rare.  

“The fact that you’re walking down Spring Street and somebody runs out and grabs you and throws you in a truck, that’s almost unheard of,” Wood said.

According to the 2017 National Center for Victims of Crime report, 11,000 college campuses representing more than 78 million students, reported criminal victimizations as of 2014.  This report also states that one-third of students are the victims of stalking. While the sense of security on and around campus is the mindset of PS, the anxiety of traveling at night seems to be a constant among several women on campus.  

“I don’t feel comfortable walking around campus, sometimes during the day, but never at night and I don’t think PS does enough to instill a sense of safety and comfort over campus if something were to happen.” senior Sasha Vasquez said. “Though it is inconvenient for all the parties we go to, I ask for rides whenever I can.”

Some female students do feel somewhat safe on campus but this is not due to the efforts of law enforcement or PS.  Many women like juniors Erin Bitzer and Allison Andrews say they feel safe on campus due to the fact that it is a small school in a small town, or the fact that they are friends with male fraternity members and athletes.  

“I would say that I feel safe but I believe that’s more to the credit of this being a small town and small school,” Bitzer said.

“I generally feel safe on campus, but mostly because of Tri-Delta and the fact that I’m friends with a lot of the frat guys on campus,” Andrews said.  

The party scene on campus has not diminished, but has changed location and execution.

Two years ago, every house on Fraternity Hill would have been throwing a party with students meandering from one to another all night.  Now, following the termination of three fraternities on campus, parties have moved to off campus homes where PS holds no jurisdiction.

“PS thinks campus is safe because they’ve forced us to move our social lives to off campus.  We’re too scared to party on campus because of the consequences,” Vasquez said. “It’s to the point where we’d rather deal with the actual police than PS, so yeah now campus is safe, whatever that is supposed to mean.”

This relocation of social experiences like parties to off campus homes, makes it DPD’s territory.  DPD works very closely and assists in the safety and monitoring of the OWU students on and off campus.   

“I consider Delaware a safe community, but also understand that anything can happen anywhere, anytime,” Captain Adam Moore of DPD said.

Many students find comfort with DPD and appreciate their efforts when patrolling on the weekends.  DPD often gets called for noise complaints related to the off campus parties of students. Students and the officers of DPD have a mutually respectful relationship.  When officers show up to a house where a party is located, students are quick to turn down the music and cooperate with whatever guidelines the police deem necessary.  The students also enjoy posing for photographs with the officers who patrol Clancey’s Pub downtown during the weekend.

Students seem to think PS is out of touch with the real threats on campus.  

“The stuff we’ve had where people have gotten in trouble, they’ve gotten into a car with somebody they don’t know, they met somebody online and they went off campus and went to the house and met them,” Wood said.

Many students are less worried about members of the town of Delaware and more so their fellow students.  

“You’re supposed to feel safer on campus, but sometimes it’s the people on your campus that you know, that are dangerous and it’s very unsettling,” senior Hannah Joseph said.  “It honestly sucks that’s the reality we have to live with as women on a college campus and really as women in this world.”

This disconnect has to do with the overwhelming sentiment that the officers of PS don’t care about the well-being of the students.  

“I would never call PS for help because they take forever to show up and they really don’t seem to care about us,” said Andrews.

“Come to think of it, I don’t recall hearing much about ways to keep women safe or overall safety just by the University,” Bitzer said.

Contradictory to the feelings of the student body, both PS and DPD have several resources for the students to utilize.  PS teaches a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class several times throughout the year as well as shorted RAD introductory seminars.  PS offers complimentary rides for students on a case by case basis.

They also recommend traveling in groups or pairs and let someone know about your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are leaving and when you will return.  Also, they both want to ensure students that it is always better to call for help than try to handle a dangerous situation alone in fear of disciplinary or legal actions.

“At the end of the day, no consequence the police, courts, school, or parents can levy, will be worse than someone being the victim of a major crime or severely injured. If you are in trouble, call for help,” Moore said.

Chief Wood agrees with the sentiment.  PS also abides by the amnesty policy, which is described in the OWU student handbook as such, “Students who seek medical attention for themselves or others because of the over-consumption of alcohol or other drugs will not be charged with violations of the alcohol or illegal drugs policies through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. These same protections will be extended to the student for whom medical attention is sought.”

“If you call for help for yourself or your friend you’re not going to get in trouble,” Chief Wood said.

The phone number for PS is 740-368-2222 or 2222 form any campus phone.  The number for DPD is 740-203-1111. In case of emergency, always call 911.

Public Safety Rumors

Photo courtesy of Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Twitter.

DJ Fradkin, Transcript Reporter

If you’ve heard rumors about Ohio Wesleyan students being seen driving OWU Public Safety (PS) vehicles and giving out parking tickets, your sources aren’t wrong. 

At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, PS opened a few positions to students, mainly for enforcement.

PS offered three positions in the fall semester and offered two positions during the spring semester, which have already been filled.

The students who are currently employed remain anonymous. Rumors that these students are working undercover arose, but these were found to be false.

“It is like any other job on campus. We obviously don’t put them in a public safety uniform, but they will have identification and a security vest,” said Robert Wood, the director of PS.

Students in duty can be seen driving a PS marked vehicle or an Acura, which is currently unmarked.

This position offers students around six hours of work each week.  The responsibilities of this job primarily includes ticketing, but they could receive other tasks such as counting the number of cars parked in each lot or assisting with building lock up on the academic side of campus.

The information regarding wage was not disclosed, but “the pay is fairly decent because students are out in the cold and it probably pays better than some other jobs around campus,” Wood said.

Prior to this year, John Ciochetty, a PS officer,  mainly handled ticketing. A few PS officers who worked full time were let go this year due to pay cuts.

But the new system works really well as it supplies students with employment and the students are less expensive to pay than full time employees, Wood said.

A different rumor also arose that the PS department is having students track down Yik Yak and other social media posts.

Junior Isabella Flibotte said, “The school needs to loosen the leash on the students and let them enjoy their college experience without feeling as if they’re constantly watched like high school students.”

Freshman Victoria Chavez said, “If a serious issue arose and became harmful then they should step in, but other than that, they should not be involved.”

The reactions from most students indicated they were not in favor of PS monitoring their social media.

Wood disproved the rumors and said they don’t track down student’s social media. “Jay does a Facebook thing, but we don’t do anything other than that and don’t plan to do that,” Wood said.

If students are interested in learning more about this job, they can speak to a representative at the PS office.

Thursday shooting injures one, suspect in custody

Police occupy the scene of Thursday night's shooting outside Woodward Elementary School at 200 S. Washington St. Delaware Police Department (DPD) continues to investigate the incident.

By Spenser Hickey

Assistant Copy Editor

and Noah Manskar


A man was shot Thursday night on the Woodward Elementary School playground at 200 S. Washington St., three blocks from the Ohio Wesleyan campus.

Delaware Police Department (DPD) officers responded to a 911 call at 8:15 p.m. reporting a fight outside the school, according to DPD Captain Adam  Moore. When they arrived, they were informed the fight had resulted in a shooting.

Joshua Mosley, Jr. of Columbus was arrested and charged with felonious assault after police conducted an investigation at the scene, detaining and interviewing seven witnesses.

Moore said Mosley “made some statements” indicating he committed the shooting. Some witnesses’ testimony also contributed to the probable cause for the arrest.

The victim, Darryl Ginyard of Delaware, sustained a gunshot wound to his upper body and was airlifted to an Ohio State University hospital. Moore said he was told the man went into surgery for his injuries last night.

According to Moore, in the coming days DPD will continue to collect evidence and determine any other involved parties, as well as figure out the motive for the crime. He said officers are “still pursuing the location of the weapon.”

“We know kind of what happened now; the next question is, ‘Why did it happen?’ or ‘What was behind it?’” Moore said.

Moore said the incident bears no relationship to Woodward Elementary School other than its location. He said it’s questionable whether the parties were trespassing because many local schools offer their playgrounds for public use.

“Obviously they were not using the playground for its intended purpose by getting into a fight or shooting firearms, but I really can’t comment on what the school’s policy is about who can use their equipment and when they can or cannot use it,” he said.

Around 9:30 p.m. a Public Safety (PS) alert was sent to OWU warning of a shooting on Liberty Street with the suspect still at large. The alert told students to stay inside.

Director of PS Robert Wood said PS was “not able to confirm immediately who the shooter was” with DPD.

The Babbling Bishops, OWU’s improvisational comedy troupe, were performing their final show of the year in Chappelear Drama Center. During the show, a member of the theater staff took a member of the troupe aside. After the show ended, the troupe informed the audience that “something had happened on Liberty Street.”

By then, many had already seen the first PS alert and a later one from around 10:20, saying police were still searching for suspects and that no students or OWU employees were involved in the shooting.

“Stay inside with doors and windows locked,” the alert said.

Shortly after the Babblers informed the audience the campus was on lockdown and the building was in “crash” position, Officer Jay McCann and Investigator Art Reitz of PS arrived to escort students from Chappelear to the residential halls.

“We’re going to move you in a couple of large groups,” McCann told the audience. “…It’s still an active situation, we are still asking you to stay inside (and keep) doors locked.”

After learning that almost everyone in the audience were going to Bashford, Thomson or Welch Halls, or Small Living Units on Rowland Avenue, McCann announced that they would move as one group, with one PS officer in front and another at the rear.

“Please stay close together, we’re going to go as quickly as possible,” he said. “And again, let me reiterate—until an (all clear) alert comes out, please stay inside. I know this is the last day of classes, I know this is Blackout Thursday…this is very unexpected, and it is a very dangerous thing …the police department is still advising us to stay inside.”

He told the audience he didn’t want to see a student encounter the alleged shooter and be shot.

“You know me well enough, I wouldn’t be telling you this if it wasn’t the truth, I need you to really follow this, okay? Get in your dorms and stay there.”

The audience filed out into Rowland Avenue. Many walked in silence; some had their arms around each other or held hands. They reached the residence halls without incident.

Shortly after midnight, another alert went out, updating that the investigation – now listed at Woodward Elementary, when previous alerts said it was on Liberty Street or off-campus – was ongoing, but that “the scene is quiet.”

“BE CAUTIOUS if out in area,” the alert concluded.

Director of University Communications Cole Hatcher sent a campus-wide email at 12:38 p.m. Friday saying no OWU students or employees were involved in the incident. The message encouraged students, faculty and staff to contact DPD with any relevant information and to sign up for the OWU Alert system that kept the campus informed as details unfolded.

“We hope to provide as much information as we can as quickly as we can, and we hope we succeeded this time,” Hatcher said.

UPDATE: As of 3:42 p.m. on May 3, DPDt issued an arrest warrant for Chante N. Durr on a felonious assault charge. Durr is also suspected in the May 2 shooting incident. According to the DPD press release, anyone with information on Durr’s whereabouts should contact police at (740) 203-1111 or file an electronic report at crimereports.com. DPD is also seeking information about the location of the gun used in the shooting.

UPDATE, May 7, 8:33 a.m.: According to DPD Captain Adam Moore, the warrant for Durr’s arrest was issued because investigation indicated she had been involved in the confrontation leading up to the shooting and had made some threats during the incident.