This past Saturday night, a Hope College student was approached by a car, physically assaulted and nearly kidnapped near the corner of 14th Street and College Avenue, steps away from Hope’s campus. According to Campus Safety, the female student (whose name has been protected for security reasons), was walking down the street when a black SUV pulled up. After receiving threats from the individuals within the car, three of the vehicle’s four occupants exited the vehicle and approached her – one of them attempting to grab her by the arm. The student struck the suspect and proceeded to flee to her place of student housing, from there she was able to contact authorities. The student was uninjured.
Campus Safety officers in tandem with officers from the Holland Department of Public Safety, combed the area in search of the vehicle that night, to no avail. At an institution that many regard as a perfectly safe and guarded community, this attack has hit close to home for many Hope students, as many never thought that anything such as this would ever happen to anyone on our campus. “It’s scary that things like this are happening [here at Hope]…As a woman, it’s even more scary because it could’ve been anyone in that situation”, says Angelica Peña, who is a sophomore. “You hear about stuff happening in other places… but you never think about the fact that it could happen here. It’s just scary and it reminds me that it is important to watch out for myself, and my friends too.”
While it is difficult to entirely prevent incidents like this from occurring, there are measures that students can take to increase their own personal levels of safety when going out. Simple things such as: telling someone where you are going and when you expect to reach your destination, keeping your cell phone charged, and using the buddy system are often overlooked, but can make a huge difference when it comes to creating a comprehensive plan to stay safe. Being proactive before leaving and staying vigilant while out can be extremely important factors in protecting oneself.
The student who was attacked did not personally know any of the suspects. One of the suspects is described as a white male, approximately 20 years old, medium build, medium length brown hair, and is approximately 6’0” tall. A second suspect was described as a white male having a bigger build, a slight “gut”, and being about 6’1” tall, with short brown hair and a large nose. The other individuals (who remained in the vehicle), remained unidentifiable. Anyone with information regarding the incident is advised to call campus safety at (616) 395-7770, call the Holland Department of Public Safety at 1(800) 249- 0911, or visit the Holland Department of Public Safety’s office at 89 West 8th Street, open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m., to 5 p.m.