THUNDER BAY — The Lakehead University Student Union is expressing alarm over an incident at a bus stop outside Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute.
Two first-year education students waiting for a bus after taking off-campus instruction at the high school were accosted by a male who asked them for their wallets.
The person left after they refused, but the incident – which occurred last Wednesday evening – left the students shaken.
Juliana Cronk, vice-president of advocacy for LUSU, said, "That was the best-case scenario for a potential mugging... It could have been so much worse and resulted in so much physical and emotional and mental trauma."
What's concerning for the student union, Cronk said, is that this isn't the first time students taking instruction off-campus have feared for their safety.
She said she recently heard of two previous similar incidents at the same location, but wasn't aware whether complaints had been filed with the Thunder Bay Police Service.
Cronk said students are reluctant to speak to their teacher and to the education department about their right to safety "for fear that it would inconvenience them and somehow reflect badly on their potential as teacher candidates and their success in the program."
Nonetheless, she said, some students have expressed concern since the beginning of the school year about their safety while travelling off-campus for instruction "without it being addressed."
LUSU, she said, feels these classes should take place on campus, whether in the education building or some other building.
TBnewswatch reached out to Lakehead University for a response.
In a brief statement, the university said its security service, and subsequently administration, were advised about the Sept. 28 incident the next day.
"Security Services then reached out to the student to discuss what happened and begin an investigation, and to support the student's desire to file a police report," the statement said.
It added that in the meantime, the dean of the Faculty of Education has begun exploring other class delivery options.