Students react to assault at Wartburg College - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students react to assault at Wartburg College

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -- A Wartburg College student is facing several charges, including a Class D felony, after Waverly police arrested him for choking another student until she was unconscious early Sunday morning.  22 year old Robert Wims is facing several charges in the assault. It happened in a Wartburg dorm room. Police said Wims' blood alcohol content was more than four times the legal limit.

This type of violent crime is very rare for Wartburg College. In 2008, only one assault was reported in a residence hall. That follows two years without an incident in the dorms, and just four assaults in the past three years anywhere on campus.

Many students at Wartburg College are just learning about the assault now, following an email from Wartburg President Dr. Darrel Colson.

"It was scary to hear," said Sophomore Lacey Schroeder, "I never have had any concern about what would happen over the weekend... never crossed my mind."

Saul Shapiro, the Director of Communications and Marketing, said isolated incidents happen on every campus. However, it's very rare in Waverly.

"The way this happened, you wonder how it would be preventable," he said.

Police said Wims was highly intoxicated when he attacked the female student. Initial tests suggest he had a blood alcohol content of 0.33. Two other students were able to restrain Wims until law enforcement arrived. Officers claim Wims put up a fight during his arrest, and even spit at the police. But Wartburg leaders believe no other students were in immediate danger.

"The suspect in this case was taken into custody immediately, he was incarcerated, he was banned from campus," said Shapiro.

This is why they chose not use their campus-wide alert system. Schroeder agrees with that decision.

"I think they didn't need to tell us about it over the weekend, it would have created more drama and more chaos if anybody was scared," said Schroeder.

She still believes Wartburg is a secure community, but this does alert her to the reality of campus violence.

"I never thought this would happen on a small campus. We hear about it all the time - we always need to be aware at college, it can happen anywhere, but you don't expect it to happen so close to you," she noted.

Wims is currently banned from campus. He did have a student conduct board hearing Thursday. According to the Federal Family Educational Right to Privacy Act, the college cannot legally release the results. Wartburg lists several possible outcomes from a student board hearing in its handbook. Sanctions range from a warning letter to expulsion from campus. Wims does have the right to appeal the board's decision.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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