Indiana News

Purdue President reacts to Camp DASH allegations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Investigators are still looking into alleged crimes of a sexual nature taking place at a Purdue summer camp.

We now know several of those accusations may be linked to a single female camper.

For the first time, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels was able to speak about the decision to shut down Camp DASH. He also described how the problems first came to his attention.

Purdue students WLFI spoke to are still trying to wrap their minds around what allegedly happened there.

“Stuff happens and this was an extreme, obviously,” Purdue sophomore Isra Abdelsalan said.

Abdelsalan is a counselor at another summer camp and is not connected to Camp DASH. She said the allegations are hard to hear.

Those allegations include fondling, voyeurism and rape at the summer research camp.

“I’ve worked with people of that same age and it’s just like, hearing the stuff that went down is so crazy to hear” said Abdelsalan.

Purdue senior Jakelyn Spencer knows some of the Camp DASH counselors and said it’s a loss for everyone involved.

“For me it’s more saddening for the volunteers and workers of the program because they are losing this great opportunity because of the campers’ actions,” said Spencer.

Daniels said he’s most disappointed in the time it took to report the allegations.

“The failure here was not of resources or attention but of reporting, and that’s frustrating,” Daniels explained.

He said staff is trained to report as soon as problems are noticed, and stands by the decision to shut down the camp.

“The very instant that we learned of this, we acted in a decisive fashion,” said Daniels. “I don’t think we overreacted, and so I hope in that sense it reaffirms what we stand for.”

Abdelsalan said she hopes this becomes a learning experience for counselors, and she hopes it doesn’t discourage future camps.

“I don’t know that this one incident will put like a bad name on Purdue, but I think people will hesitant for wanting to have camps here,” Abdelsalan added.

The camp was part of a diet study and was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Centers for Disease Prevention.

The NHLBI released a statement saying:

NHLBI takes matters of participant safety very seriously and regrets any harm that participants or families might have experienced.”

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