In that reported attack, an 18-year-old freshman had walked alone from her campus dormitory to buy cigarettes at a gas station convenience store just north of the Fullerton campus. On her way back about 8:30 p.m., she was grabbed at knifepoint and dragged into the bushes lining a deserted access road paralleling the Orange Freeway. Campus police arrested 39-year-old Fullerton laborer Terry Lonnie Briggs on suspicion of rape late Friday.
Cal State Fullerton has had to cut its security budget because of a $16-million shortfall in the state budget last year. Huffman said he cannot fill one vacant officer's position, and one of the campus' three shuttle buses is not working. It probably cannot be repaired and there is no money to replace it, he said.
At Chapman University in Orange, campus officials have increased lighting and taken other security measures to improve the safety on campus, more as a proactive step than in response to crime, said Ronald W. Hall, director of campus safety. More than two years ago, students were instrumental in helping campus officers start a "safe-ride" shuttle service to ferry students to dorms and parked cars late at night.
Yet, a rape in the stadium parking area last October stirred concern among many students.
"We always thought we were pretty safe around here--no graffiti, no gang violence," said Kati Spencer, editor of The Panther, the campus newspaper. "But since the . . . rape, I don't walk by myself alone at night anymore. . . . Students have become a little more reclusive and are keeping to themselves."
The victim in the Oct. 6 attack ultimately declined to press charges, either criminally or administratively, campus officials said.
Community colleges have security forces too. But they generally operate with revenue gathered through parking fees and citations, not state funds, which have not kept up with enrollment growth in recent years, said Ann Reed, spokeswoman for the chancellor of the 107-campus state community college system.
"I think there is a heightened awareness that safety is an issue for our students, and that we need to do whatever we can to provide a safe environment for them while they are on our campuses," she said. But without more state funds, it is difficult to do more.
A 1990 bill by state Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) and pushed by the Reilleys requires the state to set standards for adequate lighting. Under pressure from the University of California, Cal State and community college system lobbyists who said the cost would be exorbitant, the law as passed applies only to future campuses.
Some colleges have improved lighting and security anyway.
Saddleback College President Constance M. Carroll said she has worked on security issues at the Mission Viejo campus since her arrival in 1983, long before the death of Robbin Brandley and efforts by her parents to get more lights on the campus.
"Certainly that incident did contribute to some areas of improvement," said Carroll, whose campus is now patrolled by a force of 14 full-time and part-time police officers who carry guns. The campus also has a staff of eight security escorts for evening students.
Gates and fencing now surround the campus of 24,000 students, making it possible to seal off the campus to outsiders when classes are not in session. Carroll credits that and year-round patrols for the reduction in thefts and vandalism.
The campus has also installed considerable additional lighting in parking areas, cut back hedges and added emergency telephones. Genelle Reilley, who would like to see even greater security measures, concedes that Saddleback is now one of the best lighted community college campuses in the state. But she says more must be done.
"They need to hire more police," Reilley said of Saddleback and other colleges. "At many community colleges with enrollments of tens of thousands of students, they never have more than two officers on duty at any one time. This is horrible."
Many students are worried about their personal safety.
Since the sexual attacks at Orange Coast last spring, Anita Driessen tries to walk to her car with a group or at least one friend after evening classes. Last semester, she availed herself of the services of two security guards who were waiting when her night class let out.
In the most recent incident, a 19-year-old student was walking alone about 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the fine arts parking area off Fairview Road when a young man of about 20 approached from behind on his mountain bicycle. The rider grabbed her breasts, then rode off without speaking, campus officials said.
The woman did not report it at first, but did so the next day, at the urging of her boyfriend.