University Reacts to Stabbing


The family housing units at Southern Oregon University have a reputation of being quiet, affordable and close to campus. But now a resident who has lived the last two years in the family complex with her children wonders if it’s still as safe. That’s because she lives near a stabbing just doors away and heard shots fired recently as well. It is located less than half a mile from the campus public safety office and has police patrol as frequently as any other street in town. But the recent incidents in the past months have disrupted the serenity of the complex littered with bikes and toys across its lawns for this resident, “Aside from those situations, everything here is fairly quiet and calm,” the resident who declined to be identified said, “The fact that the shooting and stabbing occurred so close together is either very random or maybe a hint of how things are turning.”

Two police officers were dispatched last Monday night to the family housing area, after Ashland Police say a suspect turned himself in claiming he stabbed another man in his home. 34 year old Benjamin Williamson reportedly came back to his apartment around 9:30 and found another man whom police say he claims his wife had invited over earlier that evening.

williamson mug shot

Williamson was taken into custody and is being held at the Jackson County Jail. He is facing charges of attempted murder with bail set at $500,000. The victim, whose name has yet to be released, was transported to Rogue Regional Medical Center to be treated for multiple stab wounds and is in stable condition.

Though this act of violence is rare, it is not the first problem that has occurred in the neighborhood. On the night of August 3rd, 2014 gunshots were reported on Quincy street after a car was allegedly seen driving down the road, firing into the air. Since the event wasn’t technically on school grounds, it was not recorded as a campus incident.

Not only are these incidences unusual for the family housing neighborhood, but also for the campus of Southern Oregon University as a whole according to the head of Media Relations, Ryan Brown who says that, “Clery reports since 2009 show zero reported cases of attempted homicide or felony assault in the last five years.”

Campus Security head Randy Schoen attributes these low figures to the small campus size and efficiency of his staff. “Officers are on duty 24/7 patrolling the campus but students still need to use common sense.”

Police and SOU Campus Security claim these incidents are unrelated to one another and random acts which do not create a threat to students or residents of Student Family Housing. The University does not plan to make any changes to its security and patrolling in the area.