Elizabeth City, N.C. – Precious Hall and Tekoyia Jones are all set for their first day of freshman classes at Elizabeth City State University.
The two are excited for what lies ahead, but also a little nervous after learning of the safety concerns that plague the university.
“A little scared and worried,” Hall admits.
This past spring, Elizabeth City Police uncovered more than 125 reported crimes at ECSU, 18 of them sexual assaults that were never investigated.
In May, both the university’s Chancellor Willie Gilchrest and Police Chief Sam Beamon resigned after the State Bureau of Investigation announced it was looking into obstruction of justice and witness intimidation allegations.
“It was shocking,” Jones says. “I was second guessing about coming here.”
University officials tell NewsChannel 3 that new safety changes are in effect, including more patrols and extra cameras in and around campus dorms.
“It hasn’t really been different, but it’s just more increased,” says Maurice Jackson, an ECSU sophomore. “Like there’s more of a presence you can feel.”
But is it enough to make incoming freshmen feel safe?
“At first I was like no, I’m not going to stay on campus,” Jones says. “I might go to school, but I’m going to commute. But then I was like, I think I’ll be OK.”
Hall says she’s not afraid for her safety, but will take precautions on campus.
“Never walk alone, never walk outside alone, never go anywhere alone around here,” Hall says.
NewsChannel 3 reached out to university officials and went by Interim Chancellor Charles Becton’s office Monday to discuss the upcoming year and safety plans, but no one could sit down and speak with us.