Nearly 100 singing, chanting University of Maryland students marched through the College Park campus last night with the aim of prompting administrators to beef up security measures.
Since August, three rapes have occurred on or near the sprawling campus, the latest on Nov. 7 when a 20-year-old student was attacked in a basement restroom of the Benjamin classroom building, police and campus officials said.
"We hope to raise a consciousness of women on campus and to ask for more lighting, increased security and more patrols," said Arnie Stewart, president of the University's Women's Center, which sponsored the event.
In September, a 21-year-old student was attacked near the campus while walking home from a party, and in August, a 36-year-old Greenbelt woman was raped on the border of the campus after being abducted in her car nearby, university officials said. There also were two attempted rapes on campus this year, in March and July, they said. Campus police said they do not believe the attacks are related.
"We have to raise people's consciousness and get people to know that we are not going to take it anymore," Anne Thomas, 24, a junior sociology major, shouted at a rally held in front of the R. Lee Hornbake Library.
University public information director Roz Hiebert said the school has been working to increase security by installing 73 "blue-line" telephones on campus, which are tied into the university police department, and by spending $1.6 million in state funds to improve security lighting.
Although university police say there are as many as 18 officers on foot patrol 24 hours a day, two student groups are pushing to establish a student foot patrol to cover the campus at night.
And many of the demonstrators said the university was not moving fast enough in its security efforts.
A university police report showed there was a 13.6 percent decrease in violent crime on campus during the first eight months of this year, compared with 1983. Last year, there were three rapes and six attempted rapes on campus; from January to August this year there were two rapes and three attempted rapes.
In the march that followed the rally, students carried makeshift paper-cup candleholders and placards reading, "Women Unite -- Take the Night Back" and "We want security lighting and awareness . . . Why not both?"
Along the campus mall, the female marchers chanted, "We are women, we are strong; violence against us has lived too long. Out of our homes and into the streets; we won't be raped, we won't be beat."
About a third of the participants in the rally and march were men.