An unknown man armed with a sharp object sexually assaulted a woman at San Francisco State University early Thursday, university police said.
The victim called SFSU police at 12:42 a.m. to report the assault. She said a man had pulled her from a campus pathway into nearby bushes between Burk Hall and the Student Health Center and groped her. The suspect then fled.
No arrest had been reported as of noon Thursday.
The victim told police she first noticed the suspect sitting outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center before he followed her.
Police described the suspect as a 5-foot-7 male of medium build who appeared to be in his late 20s, wearing a gray hoodie and blue jeans at the time of the incident.
SFSU officials fired off a community safety alert Thursday morning as part of an effort to apprehend the assailant, said Loulou Hong, vice president for student affairs at SFSU.
“I think what we’re reminded of is that we are an urban campus,” said Hong, adding that many campus spaces are open to the public.
Hong said the victim is a member of the SFSU community, but could not confirm whether she is a student or faculty member.
Confidential reporting sites, including the Counseling and Psychological Services Center and SAFE Place, are available to students who become victims of sexual assault on campus. Faculty members who also become such victims can access special services as well, Hong said.
Hong added that she believes most rape and sexual assault cases among college students go unreported, but are prevalent nonetheless. Various national studies cited in media reports say one in six to one in four college women become victims of sexual assault.
SFSU is working to gather current numbers of sexual assault on its campus, Hong said.
But according to campus police, there were four rapes and one sexual assault in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available. The last sexual assault was reported to campus police Sept. 1.
“First and foremost we want to take care of the victim in this incident,” said Hong. “It’s critical that we remind the community that a victim is never to be blamed for his or her assault.”
Campus police are asking anyone with information on Thursday’s incident to contact them at (415) 338-2222 or to leave an anonymous tip at (415) 338-3030.