Union police are investigating an alleged assault that occurred on the East Central College campus Wednesday.

According to Police Chief Norman Brune, an 18-year-old female student from Washington reported that a white man between the ages of 20-30 approached her from behind at 3:50 p.m. and pushed her up against her car.

The woman told police that the man told her, “if she said anything that he would hurt her.”

The man then released her and ran through a wooded area west of the college campus, according to the police report.

The victim said the man had brown hair and “really nasty teeth.” He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and boots.

ECC President Jon Bauer emphasized that the college is working with the Union Police Department on the case.

“We want to do everything we can to follow up on the report and to help police as they investigate this,” Bauer said. “We feel our campus is a safe place, but it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings.”

Bauer said there are very few incidents on campus. The last reported assault incident at an ECC property was in 2008 at the Four Rivers Career Center in Washington

ECC officials were notified of the report by Union police Wednesday evening, Bauer said.

An email blast and text message alert both were sent out to students and staff Thursday morning, at about 10 a.m.

Bauer said it was important to get the word out to everyone who may have been on campus in case they had any information that might be helpful to police in tracking down the individual involved.

Both messages contained what happened, along with the description of the suspect. Information also was posted on the East Central College Facebook page.

Bauer said the incident serves as an opportunity to remind students and staff to be cognizant of things going on around them in case something occurs that is out of the ordinary.

“We shouldn’t take for granted, even in a place that really is a safe environment in which you’re comfortable, that it’s important to be aware,” he said.

School officials reminded students, faculty and staff to be aware of their surroundings and take extra precautions in the parking lots. Anyone who would like someone to escort them to their vehicle may call campus security at 636-368-2183, campus phone 6965. People also may call the evening services specialist from 4:30-9:15 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at 636-584-6699, campus phone 6600.

Anyone who has information about the alleged assault is asked to call the Union police at 636-583-3700.