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UT reminds students of support program amid alleged sexual assault of student

After a male student reported he was sexually assaulted on campus Wednesday evening, UT is reminding its students of two programs in place to help support assault victims.

AUSTIN — For many college students, it's that time of the year to unwind a little.

As the spring semester wanes, for some, it means summer vacation is on the horizon.

But instead of focusing on the inevitable summer sunshine on its way, students at UT are zeroing in on safety.

UT students received a notice from police after a male student reported he had been sexually assaulted in Bellmont Hall on campus. The student said he was in the restroom around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday when another man entered and assaulted him.

UT Student Zachary Markizer spoke to KVUE on Thursday about the notice.

"It's very frightening because although I am a male, I still have a fear of it happening to me," Markizer said.

Coming forward with sexual assault incidents is exactly what Bree Van Ness wants students to do. Ness is the coordinator of two support programs on campus that provide a safe and private place for students who are the victims of sexual assault or violence to come forward.

Ness said the programs empower students by providing information and resources, which allow them to determine the course of action that best fits their needs.

Appropriate action can include meeting with a police officer, Ness added.

"We can help accompany them to those meetings or have one of those officers be able to come to our office space where it might be a little bit more comfortable and less intimidating to make that report if that's something the student is interested in doing," Ness said.

Police are still looking for the man who they say is behind the assault at Bellmont Hall.

The student described the man as “older than a teenager,” possibly wearing glasses, dressed in tan pants and brown or gray hiking boots. Authorities are asking the public to call 911 if they saw anyone matching that description in the area.

For more information on UT's Advocacy and Support groups visit their website here.

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