Trinity Students Rally For Injured Student, Call For Better Security
By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY
March 08, 2012
HARTFORD — A bicyclist loitered on the Trinity College campus for two hours before he robbed sophomore Maria Young at knifepoint last month, Young told hundreds of students at a rally Thursday.
Young, who wasn't injured in the hold-up, told her story to illustrate what she and others say is a need for tighter security at Trinity, where a student was badly beaten over the weekend.
The rally was organized to support the injured student, Chris Kenny, and suggest way to prevent such attacks. Kenny, also a sophomore, suffered a broken jaw, rib and cheekbone. He had surgery at Hartford Hospital, then was discharged and is home in Florida recovering, his friends said.
Students wore royal blue T-shirts that said, "Rally for Chris Kenny. Fight for what's right at Trinity College." They clapped and cheered for a dozen speakers; some hoisted signs in air. One read: "Don't let this happen again."
Police have said Kenny was beaten early Sunday by three white women and two white men in their 20s. They were seen fleeing from the attack at Summit Street and Allen Place in a black coupe. Anyone with information is asked to call the Hartford Police Department's anonymous tips line at 860-722-8477.
The beating is the most serious of a recent string of crimes that have increased in severity, school officials said. Prompted by previous incidents, the school had commissioned a study of its campus, increased the amount of lighting and added five security guards.
After Sunday's attack, Trinity decided to add 10 more security guards for night foot patrols, President James F. Jones Jr. said.
But those changes are not enough for some students, including Young.
"I get the feeling, and I guess I'm not alone, that the administration is concerned more with the image of the college than with listening to the students," she said to applause.
Chenel Palacios, another sophomore, said that some lights still are not working properly, and that there aren't enough shuttle buses to drive students who are leery of walking on campus at night.
She also criticized people who, she said, implied that Kenny instigated the attack. "This is in no way his fault," she said.
Two other students said at the rally that the college failed to properly relay information about the assault to the campus community.
Stephen Smith, a junior, said Kenny's mother didn't know what had happened until Kenny himself mustered up the strength to call her from the hospital.
And Gus Dangremond, who said he was speaking for a student who wished to remain anonymous, said a brief, weekend e-mail about the assault from the school was "essentially a four-line insult to Chris, his family, his friends and the rest of the student body."
In speaking to the media after the rally, Jones said the failure to notify Kenny's mother was "a serious breach in communication internally on one staffer's part on Sunday."
He agreed with the anonymous student's assessment of the initial e-mail notifying students of the attack, saying it was "terse" and "not complete."
Paul Raether, chairman of the college's board of trustees, addressed the students and pledged to do better.
"This is not the right environment that we have at the moment," he said, "and we're going to work hard to try and fix it."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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