I don’t think this was national news, but recently an ex-Rutgers student was killed a few blocks from campus. Story here.
Rutgers sends out crime alerts to students about crimes (robberies, assaults, what have you) that happen on campus. Students were not officially notified by Rutgers of the murder. Story from Wall Street Journal here.
Recently there’s also been drama about RUPD and NBPD and how they don’t work together like they should, it’s more of a competition, NBPD wanting to restrict RUPD jurisdiction, etc.
So all of this culminated in an e-mail that I just received.
Members of the New Brunswick Campus Community:
I am writing to inform you that Rutgers is establishing an expanded crime notification system.
Under the new policy, all students, faculty, and staff on the New Brunswick Campus will be notified of serious crimes against persons that occur beyond the boundaries of the Clery Act anywhere in the fifth and sixth wards of the City of New Brunswick. These wards include those off-campus neighborhoods most heavily populated and frequented by our students. In addition, we will inform you of serious incidents against Rutgers students, faculty, and staff in other parts of the city and areas surrounding the campuses when the university is made aware of such incidents.
The federal Clery Act requires all colleges and universities to notify students and others of crimes that occur on campuses or on properties immediately adjacent to them. This law establishes minimum reporting requirements; in most cases, compliance with the Clery Act suffices for notification purposes. As President Barchi stated when he announced the new policy earlier this afternoon, adhering to the federal law simply doesn’t in all instances meet the needs of our community. In certain cases, especially those involving serious injury, we think it is appropriate to go beyond compliance with minimum federal legal standard. Rather than relying on the guidelines of the federal law, the president, our public safety personnel, and I have developed this new protocol to help all of the members of our campus community make informed choices concerning their safety.
Under the Clery Act, notifications are required only when a crime occurs on or immediately adjacent to the campus and when there is an ongoing threat to the campus community. Such notification was not required following last month’s murder of our former student, William McCaw, who was killed at a location beyond the geographic limits set by the federal law. Under the new guidelines, this incident would trigger notification of the campus community.
The new policy will capitalize on the close working relationships that the university has with law enforcement and elected officials in the City of New Brunswick.
The safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff is paramount, and I believe this new policy will enhance our efforts to keep the campus community informed and safe.
Richard L. Edwards, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Chancellor (Interim), New Brunswick
Once again we see here that Rutgers is taking a reactionary stance on this instead of a proactive stance that could have prevented some bad press for the university. Not that I care about the school’s publicity either way, it just seems like it should have been a no brainer for the people who said, “No, we’re not going to say anything about this because we’re not legally required to.”
And even aside from the publicity aspect of it, it should have been common sense. “The law doesn’t require us to notify our students of this heinous crime that occurred in a part of the city that is densely populated by students, so why should we?” Because it should, again, be a no-brainer that you want to keep students safe?!
Slightly unrelated rant, but I think it gets at the same overarching issue so I’ll mention it. At the beginning of last semester, the dining halls were closing for dinner an hour earlier than they had previously, much to the chagrin of students with night classes. It came out that the reason for this was because the dining halls didn’t make a profit last year and they wanted to cut man hours and save money that way.
I’m sorry, what? You’re talking about something that provides an essential service to the student body and you need it to make a freaking profit?! On top of everything we already pay in tuition and housing! There was a petition and enough student interest and the dining halls resumed their previous hours.
End of story: sometimes I seriously question Rutgers bureaucracy.
Oh, I also found out on Tuesday that Chris Christie has been giving away parts of the World Trade Center as party favors to people he wants to like him. (Source: NY Times) My initial reaction when I was told was, “That’s not…kosher.” (For lack of a better word.)