On Thursday, October 28 around 3:30 AM, 4th-year Leadership student Kobi Agusiobo was heading home from Lonnie’s, cutting through Victoria Park toward Wellington Street when he was confronted by two men.
“The one was just waiting there, and I don’t know where the other guy came from,” says Agusiobo.
The two men then attempted to seize his wallet and his belt.
“The dude that was at my back was trying to get my wallet, so I was fighting him off… That’s when the other dude got me with the screwdriver and a punch.”
One of the attackers pulled out a long screwdriver and tried to stab Agusiobo in the face. The tall student, however, was able to block the attack with his forearm, though he still received a cut above his left eyebrow and another on the arm. One of the men then threw a punch, hitting Agusiobo in the face. When the punch failed to knock the victim down, the attackers fled the scene.
The next morning, Agusiobo was taken to hospital by Laurier Special Constable Trish Kalka, where he was treated and released the same day.
The attack left Agusiobo shaken, but he’s quick to point out that this level of violence has always been a grim reality for Brantford.
“It’s never been a safe city,” he says. “I’ve never had anything like this happen… but I’ve heard stories about Brantford. It didn’t really bother me, you know…every city has its good’s and bad’s.”
Attacks such as these raise many questions about the safety of the Laurier Brantford, since Victoria Park and other major downtown public spaces are unofficial but de facto parts of the campus.
The main source of safety on the campus are the special constables, who are on available until 2 AM Monday to Thursday, until midnight on Fridays and various times throughout the weekend, depending on lecture hall bookings and other events being held on campus. But there are also several other organizations that work to keep students and faculty safe during all hours of the day.
“The special constable service alone, and many other departments throughout the campus have lots of different organizations and initiatives to make the campus safer for students, staff and faculty,” says Kalka. “We have the Crime Stoppers committee… We have really good relationships with the Brantford City Police, the beat unit.
They’re usually involved in whatever we are involved in; the more we know, then the more they know and the more measures can be taken to prevent these kinds of things.”
Talks have taken place that would bring preventative measures such as emergency phone poles and 24/7 special constable service to this campus, but these things raise issues of their own.
“It’s kind of a hard sell item to have an emergency pole in the middle of say, Victoria Park. How many times is that button going to get hit by John Doe in the park? You’re going to run into a lot of problems that way,” says Kalka.
Despite this, External Relations Coordinator Kevin Klein feels that working together and healthy communication are the keys to safety.
“If something happens, we need to know about it, and the police need to know about it,” says Klein. “If [students] are uncomfortable talking to special constables, whether it’s Director of Student Services Dave Prang, whether it’s Director of Campus Operations Tony Araujo, all of our doors are open to here concerns. We are all in this together.”
The number for the special constables office is 519-756-8228, extension 5888 in case of emergencies. Also, Foot Patrol is available after night classes and can be reached at 519-751-7875.