A public safety notice issued to the Ohio State community Monday night showed up for many as a blank email message because of “technical difficulties,” an official with the Department of Public Safety said.
“Our IT Department has corrected the program error and we have since issued a text message alert directing students, faculty and staff to the Department of Public of Safety website for details on the crime alert,” said Vernon Baisden, assistant vice president and director of the Department of Public Safety, in a Tuesday email.
Many received that text message at about 8 a.m., however, hours after the initial email was sent before midnight.
The notice was issued late Monday night after a sexual assault was reported in a South Campus residence hall earlier that afternoon. A female Ohio State student reported at 3 p.m. Monday that she had been sexually assaulted at midnight.
The suspect had been invited to the residence hall by the woman after they met earlier that evening, the notice said. He was identified as a fellow OSU student — a 19-year-old man standing at 6 feet tall and weighing about 145 pounds. The investigation was open and ongoing at the time the notice was issued.
University Police Chief Paul Denton did not respond to multiple emails asking for additional information by Tuesday afternoon.
Baisden said public safety notices are always posted online.
“The Department of Public Safety has separate, redundant systems in place that allow us to communicate with students, faculty and staff in all situations,” he said.
Baisden said there is not a per-email cost for sending out public safety notices. He said he didn’t have specific cost figures because the Department of Public Safety uses a bulk mailing system that is used university-wide.
About two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network website. OSU provides services for victims of sexual assault that include counseling, advocacy, wellness and health services through Student Life.