Kaitlyn Tambasco, Managing Editor
This past September, UC released its 2019 Combined Security & Fire Safety Report. The report can be viewed online or from a physical copy and is put out annually. According to an email sent to the college community, the report includes information regarding campus safety and personal safety. It provides information on crime prevention, fire safety, reporting policies, disciplinary procedures, as well as other topics.
In the report, in 2016, there were two reported forcible sex offenses, as well as an aggravated assault that occurred off campus the same year. In 2018, there was only one bias related incident, which showed a decrease from five in 2017. However, one statistic that might stand out more to some was the decrease in alcohol violations from 2016-2018. In both categories of “Discipline Referrals, Drug Abuse Violations” and “Discipline Referrals Liquor Law Violations,” the numbers have decreased significantly.
This information is provided by Campus Safety and the statistics also include the Clark City center in downtown Utica, as well as the three campuses in Florida and another in Syracuse. The college submits the annual crime statistics published in this brochure to the U.S. Department of Education.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (The Clery Act) requires all institutions of higher education to provide students and employees with information about their security policies and procedures and statistics on reported incidents of certain crimes (“clery crimes”).
Director of Emergency Management Shad Crowe said he was not surprised by the statistics that were gathered in the report but was quite pleased seeing that the number of alcohol violations had decreased from previous years.
Even though there were violations that probably went unreported, there were far fewer violations that rose to a level that required medical attention, he added.
“Utica College has worked hard to educate incoming first-years, as well as our established student body about the dangers and risks of alcohol consumption and safety in general,” Crowe said. “The vast majority of Utica College students constantly impress me with the level of maturity and concern for others they demonstrate.”
Crowe said in order to help with alcohol awareness, the college initiated a partnership between Student Affairs and Athletics to introduce the Red Watch Band, which is a bystander intervention program designed for students to learn when and how to intervene when faced with toxic drinking, and ultimately change the culture of the institution as it relates to student’s attitudes towards drinking.
“Every program, rule, regulation, training or educational effort is only as good as the people who are working with it,” Crowe said. “Utica College continues to provide the training and tools to help make our entire UC community safer both on and off campus.
He said with any type of emergency, crucial decisions must be made.
“We all know very well that many times the right decision is not the popular one,” Crowe said. “I urge everyone when faced with a difficult situation to just take a moment and ask themselves: ‘If not me, then who?’”
Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards Carl Lohmann was also unsurprised by the statistics. But like Crowe, he was happy that the number of alcohol violations have decreased, which could be due to enrollment changing and more programs being offered to spread awareness.
Programs are being taught online during the summer before students even arrive to campus, as well as during the school year, according to Lohman.
“We have done more education and held meetings with our off-campus population in the last couple of years to help curtail these behaviors off-campus,” Lohman said. “We have also worked closely with our counseling staff to provide education to our residential students and changed the way we sanction violations to include more education and more assessments for students who violate these policies.”
Lohman said he thinks the college continually monitors what is happening with our students and adapts or adds to the effort that we are making to educate students through their time at UC.
Lohman added that the new point system for student conduct violation could also help decrease future incidents.
Director of Campus Safety Musco Millner also said he is not surprised by the statistical data complied. However, he said there’s always room for improvement.
With alcohol consumption, the college remains dedicated by being proactive in the areas of enforcement and educating students about unlawful acts that jeopardize their safety, Millner said.
“The decline is nice; however we cannot become complacent to the point where we fail to monitor any trends developing,” he stated. “In short, we embrace the good, and yet continue to be proactive in our safety efforts, educating students and learning from interactions with them.”
To read the report, visit: https://www.utica.edu/finance/environment/safety/media/Campus_Safety_Report_2019.pdf