A U of M student has suffered visible injuries and another is facing charges following a physical assault on the Fort Garry campus before the fall reading week.
Amira Tekle, 19, was assaulted by a 19-year-old male student Nov. 8 in IQ’s Cafe and Billiards. Security services was contacted and Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) officers attended and placed the male student under arrest.
Police were dispatched at 7:50 p.m. to respond to a report that a female had been assaulted by a male earlier that evening.
Shortly after arriving and collecting reports from witnesses, officers placed the male under arrest. He faces charges of assault and has been released from custody on a promise to appear.
Paramedics assessed Tekle’s injuries and deemed hospitalization unnecessary. She was left with an eye injury and facial bruising.
“It is believed that the male and female were known to each other, and the assault occurred after a dispute,” said a WPS communications officer.
According to Tekle — who is a reporter for the Manitoban — the two first met in September, in UMSU University Centre. The male student approached her and she gave him her number.
Later, he asked her on a date. She declined.
Tekle said she felt uncomfortable and sexually harassed during a later conversation with the student. The student allegedly sent her threatening text messages even after she attempted to end the conversation.
The next time Tekle encountered the student was at IQ’s, where she said he angrily approached her. She said she tried to calm the situation because he seemed “volatile and upset.”
According to Tekle, the man left and returned approximately 10 minutes later, allegedly threatening to “mess her up.”
After a physical confrontation — she said she “pushed him away” — he punched her with enough force to knock her to the ground.
A bystander contacted security, who then called the police. The male remained in IQ’s of his own accord, while Tekle waited outside in the hallway to give her report to police.
Security arrived and spoke with IQ’s staff members and the bystander who contacted them, as well as Tekle. They remained outside IQ’s until police arrived around 9 p.m.
Tekle sat at a table outside IQ’s, eventually joined by her parents while waiting for police.
Tekle showed police texts from the student earlier in the year and shared what she recorded before the assault. Officers said her evidence was too vague to constitute a threat.
After speaking with the male student for a few minutes, he was placed under arrest. Conditions of his release include a condition he not approach Tekle.
Tekle said a security officer mentioned there will be meetings on the male student’s behaviour and he may be expelled.
Campus safety concerns
Tekle said campus security should have kept the man somewhere other than IQ’s while waiting for police following the assault.
Security officers were present while she waited in the hallway, though they could not detain him. In the time before police arrived, she was asked to move so he could use the washroom across from Degrees Restaurant.
She also called the WPS response time “unsettling,” but said she understood the situation did not represent an emergency.
According to statistics provided online by campus security, there were 12 assaults reported to Fort Garry campus security services from January to the end of September.
In 2018, there were 18 incidents reported to Fort Garry security services categorized as assaults or assaults/threats.
In comparison, the University of Winnipeg security services received 25 reported assaults over 2018. These incidents reported did not necessarily take place on campus, but were reported to campus security services.
Tekle said her feelings of safety on campus will depend on how events move forward.
“I think to an extent,” she said.
“If he doesn’t get kicked out, I’ll be pretty scared on campus.”