EDITORIAL: Campus crime incident notification lacks urgency or care for students

Students should be made aware of campus sexual assaults


Claire Morgan - The State Hornet

Campus crime logs revealed that an alleged act of sexual assault occurred in the American River Courtyard on Sept. 15. Sac State did not send out a timely warning, but students deserved to be alerted.

It is imperative that Sacramento State students be aware of the dangers they face in terms of sexual assault, and that need requires the university to let the campus know when something as serious as a rape in the dorms has happened.

A student was allegedly sexually assaulted by another student in the American River Courtyard on Sept. 15. The incident was reported to the Sac State Police Department the next day by a staff member of the hospital where the victim was being treated. No other information has been released to The State Hornet about the incident.

The Clery Act mandates that emergency notifications be sent to the campus community, but only when the campus police department determines that there is a serious threat to campus security, according to the Clery Center.

“In the event of an immediate, significant danger to the health or safety campus community (e.g. weather, disease outbreak), campus officials may issue an emergency notification,” the Clery Act says. “This notification can include the entire campus, or be limited to a specific area deemed to be at risk.”

No notification was sent out to students about the fact that a rape occurred on campus and that the suspect is a student — apparently a student allegedly raping another student is not something that Sac State Police thinks is an immediate or significant danger to the health and safety of the campus.

Police did not consider the fact that a student committed a rape while in the dorms was something that the campus may want to know. Students — especially ones who live in the dorms — deserve to know that there is potential for risk, and what the university is planning on doing about it.

Additionally, notifying the campus would be a good way to solicit information on what happened and who may have witnessed or had information that could be relevant to an investigation.

The only way students would have been able to find this information — without the reporting done by The State Hornet — is if they checked the online campus crime logs, which are posted once a week, but only include crime information from the week leading up to the post date.

In order for students to get daily crime incident information is if they visit the Sac State Police Department office and request to view the daily logs.

Expecting anyone other than reporters and students uniquely interested in campus crime statistics is, quite frankly, outdated, unrealistic, and it shows how out-of-touch the department is with modern technology that allows community members to be aware of incidents as they’re happening.

California State University campuses like Chico, San Francisco, East Bay, Maritime, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Northridge and Fullerton have online crime logs — some campuses even have maps that note incident information and location — that are updated daily.

It is not much to ask Sac State to adopt the same practices. Crimes have to be entered and cataloged anyway; they legally have to be publicly listed somewhere. Students should be made more aware of the crime logs, and maybe the weekly hard to find updates should be replaced with a SacSend email.

Students deserve notification when anything violent occurs — especially something that can be categorized as sexual assault.