Lancaster University student, Xiaoqi Wang, 22, has today been sentenced to 14 months imprisonment at Preston Crown Court today for three counts of sexual assault carried in October last year.
The assault took place in the early hours of Sunday 21st October, when Wang entered the room of a fellow student and sexually assaulted an 18-year-old female who was visiting at the time.
The former member of Furness College, will serve his 14 month prison term before legal proceedings will ensure his extradition back to China. The terms of his sentence will also prohibit Wang from re-entering the country for a minimum of ten years.
With the conviction coming at a time when sexual assault is still fresh on people’s minds, the execution of justice will serves as a sharp reminder that sexual assault and similar such offences will not be tolerated.
The Complete University Guide places Lancaster University 4th in the ‘Safest University City” rankings, yet with the recent events it is only natural that students are starting to question if Lancaster is really that safe.
DC Paul Donnelly of Lancaster CID, in an official statement from Lancaster Constabulary stated, “It is important students know that the Lancaster University campus is a very safe place and this assault was a very rare instance. Crime on campus is historically very low thanks to the efforts of the Neighbourhood Policing Team that covers campus, the university’s Security team and the network of college porters, and all will continue with their efforts to ensure crime on campus stays low.”
Though this reassurance has been well received, there are more practical worries that the removal of phones in campus rooms may have an impact on ways in which people can access this security network.
Donnelly went on to comment “sexual offences can cause victims an incredible amount of emotional distress. This means that it is very important students and the wider population of Lancaster know we take offences like this very seriously, and will always look to prosecute sexual offences.”
As Donnelly states, sexual offences cause victims an “incredible amount of emotional distress”, and it is often the recollection and reporting of such offenses that can prove just as traumatic as the actual event. Due to the removal of internal phones students will find it even more difficult to get in contact with campus porters and listening services such as Nightline. This could prove to be detrimental to the way students cope with such anxieties and is something that may need reviewing with an increase of 127% in students requiring counselling compared to the last year.
When talking to LUSU’s VP for Welfare, Tom Fox, SCAN asked what the university’s attitudes were to the recent sexual assaults. Fox responded that along with their “zero – tolerance policy”, the Union was “committed to campaigning for an end to violence against women, with movements like the White Ribbon campaign targeting men to make a change, as well as supporting projects like the Vagina Monologues.”
Whilst the complete removal of sexual violence may be a virtuous aim, it may also be one that teeters on the edge of impossibility. It is only through such awareness raising initiatives that we can at least strive to minimise the impact that it has on university life.