HANOVER, N.H. – A stalked female Dartmouth student may be giving up her ivy league college dreams to protect herself against her predator, since the school refuses to let her conceal carry a firearm.
Taylor Woolrich, a 20-year-old college junior, says Dartmouth administrators told her they won’t let her carry a gun on campus, even though she lives in fear of a 67-year-old man who has been stalking her since she was 16 while Woolrich worked at a cafe during her high school years in San Diego.
After Woolrich went to college, her stalker, Richard Bennett, didn’t quit despite her having filed a restraining order against him. Bennett showed up to Woolrich’s parents home within hours of her returning to San Diego from school. Police were called, he was arrested, and a search of his vehicle uncovered a slip noose, a knife, gloves and other items, Fox News reported.
Many colleges across the country have banned guns on campus to prevent mass shootings and accidental shootings by irresponsible or inebriated students. But the pro-gun rights Crime Prevention Research Center, in a study published on Monday, said there have been no reported problems or issues with college-age permit holders on campuses in the nine states – Colorado, Florida,Wisconsin, Utah, Pennsylvania,Oregon, Mississippi, Kansas and Idaho – whose laws mandate that students and others be permitted to carry concealed handguns on public college grounds.
Woolrich says Dartmouth’s Department of Safety and Security suggested she call campus security and arrange for an escort if she felt unsafe after dark, as opposed to carrying a firearm. But she says she was often asked to justify her requests when she called, and security officers gave her a hard time for calling often.
“What they don’t understand is that it’s not enough,” she says. “Stalkers just don’t only show up after dark. Unless they have an armed guard in front of my dorm room, I’m not sure how safe I will be. I don’t think there’s much an unarmed guard can do.”
Justifying their strict weapons policy, Dartmouth officials claim “It’s strictly prohibited and we are not in the habit of making exceptions,” spokesman Justin Anderson told FoxNews.com. “But we certainly do everything we possibly can to make all our students feel safe.”
For now, Bennett sits in jail on $300,000 bail, and Woolrich is not in danger. But she says she still lives in fear and feels she might have to take drastic measures if he manages to post bond and becomes a threat again.
“Every morning I check the inmate lookup online to see if he has made bail,” she said. “I feel safe for now, but the day he gets out is the day I will have to leave Dartmouth.”
Authored by Amanda Shea