Student Response to Uber Assault

Any event involving assault, especially one that may insinuate a prejudice, catches peoples’ attention. With a growing list of violent incidents involving convenient transportation services such as Uber and Lyft, concern has arisen among people worldwide.

When assault and Uber are correlated, most statistics via a quick google search reveal the driver is to blame. For example, an investigation by CNN found a total of 103 Uber drivers and 18 Lyft drivers accused of rape, sexual assault, or kidnapping of passengers over the past four years.

What most fail to consider is the risk the drivers take themselves.

A local incident involving a suspected Seattle University student flipped the stat on its head.. On April 1, 2019, a group of three people attempted to rob an Uber driver at the intersection of 11th and Madison.

The subjects have been traced back through security footage to Vi Hilbert Hall and with one individual swiping the group into the building, students are concerned if the perpetrator lives in their hall.. Because Vi Hilbert Hall is located on Seattle University’s campus and is exclusive to its students as such, concern is evident campus-wide—and rightfully so.

Although Public Safety has since handed the investigation to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), Resident Assistants (RAs) were neither notified nor warned of any potentially dangerous individuals within the commons. Should they have been warned, and should they be worried?

Take into account the three individuals and more so, their actions. The Uber driver, who simply refused to take the three to a new location because they did not update the app, faced verbal and physical harassment. Under the influence of alcohol, one individual also pulled on the driver’s headscarf while another unsuccessfully attempted to punch her and steal her phone.

Seattle University prides itself in educating the whole person and empowering leaders for a just and humane world. If this is true, students have a right to know if they are living amongst a potentially dangerous individual. A violent, serious crime was committed, and the culprit may very well be living amongst students within Vi Hilbert Hall.

The fact that not even RAs were informed of the event is concerning. Although it remains unclear if the incident was a hate crime, a crime was committed nonetheless. As such, any resident should be notified in the case they are living amongst an individual who could very well commit another crime.

A person verbally and physically harassed another human being—that should not be taken lightly. The perpetrator could very well be not just a Seattle University student, but a resident in Vi Hilbert Hall. Other residents have a right to know if this is the case.

Anonymity is important in some cases, but in this event, safety should remain a priority. Vi Hilbert Hall and its residents should be informed of the incident and should remain involved in the ongoing case—especially if the perpetrator is walking their halls.

If the dignity and rights of the human person are as valued as Seattle University’s Mission Statement says, then students within Vi Hilbert Hall should be informed and kept up to date on a potentially dangerous individual living amongst them.

Nicole Golba Staff Writer