Auburn University announces new security measures 1 week after student was reportedly raped on bus

AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) — Auburn University Friday announced new security measures a week after an 18-year-old female student was reportedly raped while riding the late night bus system, allegedly by a bus worker while the driver of the bus allowed the attack to continue.

The bus system is contracted by the university to First Transit, who employed the two suspects charged in the sexual assault: 51-year-old Tony Patillo and 32-year-old James Johnson, Jr. were arrested Saturday and each charged with first degree rape and first degree sodomy. Arrest reports say police looked over the video footage from Johnson’s bus route Friday night to find what appeared to be Patillo having sex with the incapacitated 18-year-old woman in the back of the vehicle.

After being questioned about how the contractors for the university are selected, the university released the following statement Wednesday:

“The vendor selection process for Auburn is vigorous and highly vetted.  All proposals are evaluated based on state guidelines, operational criteria, safety guidelines, and specifications that the University sets forth.  A committee evaluates all proposals and an award is made to the respondent that meets the specifications and contract conditions set forth in the request for proposal.”

The company, First Transit, also responded Wednesday after reporters questioned how drivers are vetted:

During the hiring process, we conduct background checks on all prospective employees. We also conduct pre-employment and ongoing random drug and alcohol tests. Both of these former employees were qualified to drive according to our standards and the regulations of the state of Alabama.”

The university Friday announced the following security program for Tiger Ten:

The university’s contractor, First Transit, will implement a program that includes hiring a security firm to place security personnel on each bus.

All First Transit employees at Auburn will be trained in the university’s Green Dot Bystander Intervention program by Oct. 30. The program trains individuals in how to interrupt and prevent acts of violence. Subsequently hired First Transit employees will also go through training before being placed into active service.

First Transit will provide a trained employee to monitor the real-time camera system on the Tiger Ten late night buses and report any suspicious or dangerous activity to the Auburn Police Division. First Transit will work with the university to promote the TransLoc real-time bus tracking system’s feature in which students can communicate to the university about their trip and/or their driver.

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