Police say assaults by strangers are extremely rare on Stanford's campus, so to have to two back to back, has everyone on edge. The first attack happened in the Kennedy Grove, between the faculty club and the humanities center on the Stanford campus. Police say a female student was walking back to her dorm at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, when a man came from behind and tackled her. Luckily, another man nearby saw the whole thing and yelled at the attacker, who then ran away.
"I was very surprised. Usually the campus is very safe and they do a good job of protecting us," said Elizabeth Hancock, a Stanford freshman.
"You don't think about that when you're going on your own way, but it happens," said Ariana Koblitz, a Stanford senior.
Fifteen minutes later, another attack happened, this time inside the Phi Sig residential house on Campus Drive. Police say a party there was winding down when a man entered a female student's unlocked room, climbed into her bed and tried to take off her clothes. She then woke up and after a verbal exchange, the man left. Police are now trying to determine if the same person is responsible for both attacks.
"The two locations are close in proximity to one another as are the time so it is possible, so other than that it's purely conjecture. The suspects' descriptions are similar and yet not similar," said Chief Laura Wilson from Stanford's Department of Public Safety.
Both descriptions are of a man in his 20s, about 5'11-6', with an average build. But one victim described her attacker as Latino or Pacific Islander, while the other victim described her attacker as white. As for the students, many say both incidents have been a huge wake-up call and as a result are taking precautions.
"I'm an R.A. in a house of all girls so it was a little alarming for all of us, but I just reminded the girls to lock their doors and we sometimes prop our door open so it's easier to get in at night and I've told them they're not allowed to do that anymore," said Nora Martin, a Stanford senior.
Police are also encouraging students to walk in pairs and use suggested travel routes.