A junior at Dartmouth College may drop out of the prestigious school because she can’t carry a gun on campus to protect herself from her stalker.
Taylor Woolrich has been stalked by the same 67-year-old man since she was a 16-year-old high school student, according to Fox News. She qualified for a conceal-and-carry permit in spite of not being 21 because of her situation, but Dartmouth administrators refused to let her carry the gun on campus.
Here’s what you need to know about her:
1. Her Stalker Is Currently in Jail
According to KGTV, Woolrich’s stalker, Richard Bennett, is in jail after he showed up at Woolrich’s home a day after she returned from Dartmouth for summer vacation. He offered landscaping services to her family, who called police. KGTV reports when cops pulled Bennett over, he had a “rape kit” in his car, consisting of gloves, a flashlight, binoculars and a piece of rope tied into a slip noose. In the video above, a KGTV reporter attempted to interview Bennett in jail, but he got angry and stormed off on camera.
2. Bennett Followed Woolrich Home From Work When She Was 16
According to Fox News, Woolrich had been working in a coffee shop in San Diego when Bennett came into the cafe multiple times in the same day, trying to flirt with Woolrich. Bennett kept coming back to the shop, even following Woolrich, then 16, home from work, claiming he was “trying to protect her,” Fox News reports. Even after filing a restraining order, Woolrich said Bennett continued to contact her via social media and was at her doorstep eight hours after she returned to San Diego for the summer.
3. Handguns Aren’t Allowed on Dartmouth’s Campus
Like the vast number of colleges and universities across the country, Dartmouth has a policy that prohibits handguns on campus. As the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has stated, ‘Even with the best of intentions, armed students or employees could escalate an already explosive situation further, accidentally cause harm or use a gun in a situation that is not warranted.
All Dartmouth students are part of a tight-knit community. We do everything we can to support and care for our students so that their time on campus is safe and productive.
However, Woolrich said she hasn’t received helpful responses from campus security escorts, saying they told her, “you can’t keep calling us all the time,” and, “You can only call after 9 p.m.,” Today.com reports.
4. She Didn’t Intend to Join the Political Debate on Gun Control
In a statement to Today.com, Woolrich said she didn’t intend to join the debate surrounding gun control. Rather, she wanted to raise awareness of the challenges faced by victims of stalking. She said:
My intention was not to join the political debate on gun control, but to speak out about my situation in hopes of bringing awareness to the distressing challenges faced by victims of stalking.
He is still awaiting trial… It’s a terrifying, emotional time for my family and me. I was concerned about not being able to protect myself once he is released from prison in the future. I think that my emotions on stage and my statements taken out of context online have led my message to be extremely misconstrued. At Dartmouth, we are a family. They are doing everything possible to ensure I’m safe and comfortable coming back to campus this fall.
5. She Studies Economics at Dartmouth
According to her LinkedIn profile, Woolrich is studying economics and applied and professional ethics at Dartmouth. She is expected to graduate in 2016. Woolrich is the Director of Woman’s Outreach of the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Society and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She is expected to graduate from Dartmouth in 2016.