The State Hornet

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

Students should be made aware of campus sexual assaults

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%2C+but+students+deserved+to+be+alerted.
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.

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.

Claire Morgan - The State Hornet

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.

The State Hornet Editorial Board

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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.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Campus crime incident notification lacks urgency or care for students”

  1. John Doe on October 9th, 2018 11:02 am

    Hope you got a chance to read Pres. Nelson response to your article. If not, here you go.

    Our top priority is the safety of students, faculty and staff, and we remain deeply concerned about the well-being of the victim who reported the assault.
    To All Members of the Campus Community:

    Preventing and reporting sexual assault, ending rape culture, and keeping our campus community safe is of utmost importance. On Sunday, Sept. 16, a sexual assault was reported to the Sacramento State Police Department. Since that report, members of the campus community have raised questions about the reporting of sexual assault and the Clery Act. I want to assure you that Sac State police carefully evaluated the reported sexual assault and acted appropriately. I hope the following information increases understanding of those actions.

    The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information for all crimes listed in the statute, including sexual assault. That information is contained in Sacramento State’s Annual Security Report, published every year by Oct. 1. The most recent ASR can be found at https://www.csus.edu/aba/police/Documents/clery/clery_report.pdf.

    The Clery Act also requires that, when there is an immediate and ongoing threat to the campus community, a university is required to release a Timely Warning Notification (TWN). For that to happen, police must first determine if such a threat exists.

    When this sexual assault was reported to University police the day after it occurred, they immediately investigated. The lieutenant on duty concluded the assault was an isolated incident between two people who knew each other, and not a random attack by one stranger upon another that might put other members of the campus community in danger. Therefore, under Clery Act guidelines, a TWN was not necessary.

    The Act also allows universities to refrain from issuing a TWN “if there is clear and convincing evidence that the release of the information would (A) Jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation or the safety of an individual; (B) Cause a suspect to flee or evade detection; or (C) Result in the destruction of evidence.” In this case, police determined that issuing the TWN might have interfered with apprehension of the suspect.

    The decision by University police to not send a TWN was based on the investigative need to identify and interview the suspect quickly and was clearly in line with Clery Act requirements. That decision in no way indicates laxity or lack of police concern for the campus community.

    The assault subsequently was reported in the crime log after police secured the evidence.
    I want to assure you that Sacramento State police and I, personally, take allegations of sexual assault seriously. Our police acted appropriately, and their swift investigation resulted in the timely identification and interview of the suspect. The case now is in the hands of the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office.
    The potential consequences of the suspect seeing a TWN and fleeing or otherwise eluding police could have been significant and are troubling to consider.
    Our top priority is the safety of students, faculty, and staff, and we remain deeply concerned about the well-being of the victim who reported the assault. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, it is important that you get help. Please visit https://www.csus.edu/sexualviolence/sexual-assault.html for resources. If you are in immediate danger or need emergency help, please call 911 or campus police at (916) 278-6000.
    Sincerely,
    Robert S. Nelsen

  2. James on October 9th, 2018 11:17 am

    This article is an embarrassment to the student body at Sacramento State. The height of such sheer ignorance on the safety and security standards is misleading and disgraceful. The author quotes the Clery Act as:

    “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.”

    This incident was limited to one individual and deemed to have no significant security risk to other students. The perpetrator has been arrested and further legal decisions are pending. The officers in this case exhibited their duties to their fullest potential and solved this case within a day. The department deserves praise not some smear campaign! I am appalled by the State Hornet’s decision to run this article. Consider taking this down out of saving your honor. *See Hornet Honor Code*

  3. Jane Doe on October 10th, 2018 7:10 pm

    May I ask those of you who do not find the targeted date-rape of a female student (in the place they call home) to be threatening, to please imagine what that says to every single woman on campus?
    Maybe we are asking the wrong people about whether or not rape, whether by a random individual or someone you may happen to know, is threatening. Maybe more than a single woman knows the man who committed this cruel rape and may of been at risk. Maybe he has targeted more than a single female student. Maybe a simple notification could notify women on campus to be alert and to be aware. Maybe that could deter other bad actors from committing such a crime. Maybe a simple notification will show that the campus police are as serious about rape as they are about other crimes. Maybe before we decide for everyone that rape is not worth a notification, we should ask the actual people this affects, women. Maybe their opinion matters.
    But hey, these are just “maybe(s)”. So maybe the premeditated rape of a female student is just not that big a deal. I mean rape does not meet the requirements in the Clery Act, so why should we even bother with the opinions of women on campus?

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