Langston reports more assaults than OU, OSU

ArrestedMichael Vaughn (left) and Chesley Griffin: The two Fort Worth, Texas, men are suspected in connection with an Oct. 14 assault at the Scholars' Inn Complex dormitory at Langston.

LANGSTON - Langston University, where one student was beaten and another was shot last week, has seen dozens of aggravated assaults in recent years, despite efforts to stem the violence, a new report indicates.

The small college has more documented assaults than the state's two largest universities combined.

Angela Jones, Langston's vice president of student affairs, said that can't be possible.

"Langston is as safe as OU or any other college in this state," she said. "What has happened here can, and does, happen on all college campuses."

Langston officials are taking steps to remedy the situation.

Langston, in rural Logan County, is the state's only historically black college. About 2,800 students attend classes there.

The Oklahoman on Friday obtained a copy of Langston's most recent crime-statistic report showing that from 2007 to 2009, 57 aggravated assaults were reported on campus.

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma, both with more than 35,000 students, each, reported about 10 aggravated assaults for the same three-year period in similar crime-statistic reports.

The reports were made available through the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistic Act.

Most universities have their reports accessible to the public on their websites, but as of Friday, Langston's Web page had not been updated with 2009 figures.

Jones said university officials aren't trying to hide the figures.

She said Langston's website is undergoing construction and that the 2009 statistics had not yet been added.

In August 2009, four people who weren't students were shot and wounded after a back-to-school party at Langston.

A month later, another gunman fired shots during an argument outside the Scholars' Inn Complex dormitory, but no one was injured.

In the wake of the shootings, university officials invested more than $200,000 to improve security.

Welcome shacks were set up at entrances so that no one could get in without campus police knowing why they were there.

More lighting and video cameras were installed throughout the campus, and officials began implementing an emergency alert system.

Despite all that, a gunman shot a man Oct. 14 during a fight at the Scholars' Inn Complex.

Jordan Hunter, 21, was shot in the leg, and Langston student, Cortez Thompson, 21, was kicked in the head, police reported.

Michael Vaughn and Chesley Ronald Griffin, both 22 and of Fort Worth, Texas, were arrested in connection with the assaults.

Jones said violence has not shaken her confidence in Langston's security.

"We're emphasizing that students are safe and the security measures are working," she said.

"Yes, we've had another major incident, but that doesn't mean what we've done isn't working."

Campus Police Chief Michael Storr said students are hardly ever the source of problems on campus.

"It's visitors - friends or family members that come here and don't respect this as a place of higher learning," he said.

Jones said the violence is a societal problem, not a racial one.

"This is a different generation of young people," she said. "When I was growing up it was fist fights, and now, unfortunately we live in a society where young people have access to guns."

Storr said he's working to increase police presence on campus but is having problems finding seasoned officers to fill three empty positions on his nine-person police force.

For now, Logan County sheriff's deputies are providing added patrols, he said.

Jones said security guards also are being hired for the student housing areas, a measure that was in the works even before last week's shooting.


akelley@opubco.com SUBHEAD: Langston officials dispute the campus crime-statistic reports and say that such problems are everywhere.

Original Print Headline: Langston tops OU, OSU combined in assaults

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