Boston U. Faces Criticism for Failing to Alert Students of Assault

BOSTON
Published: February 3, 2010

Students at Boston University (BU) are questioning why authorities didn’t send out an emergency alert after a woman reported that she was inappropriately touched in a College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) elevator on Jan. 20.

According to Boston University Police Department (BUPD) Public Safety Deputy Director Scott Paré, the woman reported a man grabbing her buttocks inside the elevator. She then warned the man and reported the episode to BUPD a few hours later, says the Daily Free Press.

BUPD officials said the girl was not afraid of her assailant, and she was not injured. Because of the victim’s schedule, she was unable to assist the department with a sketch of the assailant until several days after the attack. On Jan. 26, the finished picture and description of the incident were released on the BUPD Web site.

However, many are saying that by not immediately informing the campus of the incident, the BUPD may have violated the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which requires schools to timely notify students when certain crimes pose a threat to the community.

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Paré maintains that there was no reason to send an alert because there was no serious threat of imminent harm. Moreover, he said that BUPD cannot send out “timely warnings” too often because students will begin to ignore them. Additionally, there are no guidelines for sending out timely alerts at BU.

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