Educating students on campus stalkings

The University Police Department and University Counseling Center explained types of stalking that have taken place on campus such as financial, social media, and in person.

Interim Director of the University Counseling Center Dr. Peter Emerson discussed the reaction victims have during or after becoming a stalking victim.

“There is really a wide range of reactions to that, you know,” said Emerson. “Typically you hear about people being upset about it. Sometimes they get very fearful, and so a lot of times there’s a lot of anxiety associated with that to make them very anxious. They are very fearful especially if the stalker may be aggressive, or they feel a threat in terms of assault, sexual assault from that person.”

Emerson explained a more aggressive side victims may experience.

“Sometimes people get really angry when that happens, and it is kind of a normal reaction to any really stressful situation where you have kind of fight or flight. And some people just want to kind of run away and hide and some people want to fight. Some people just don’t know what to do. So sometimes people are kind of immobilized with it, and they are just kind of cut off from their feelings.”

Police Lieutenant Patrick Gipson stated that there were five cases of stalking on campus in 2016 but have been nine in 2017 so far.

Emerson explained where some development of stalking behavior comes from.

“Typically, a lot of times the person feels an attraction towards the person they are stalking,” said Emerson. “And many times there may have been a previous relationship that’s ended, and they can’t handle the fact that the relationships’ ended. So they keep stalking that person, and sometimes some stalkers create in their own minds that there is a relationship. They might follow them on Instagram but never even communicate to them, and they build this idea in their head that they know this person and then start communicating and stalking them, and this person has no idea who this person is.”