The Runner

EDITORIAL: UPD fails to warn students


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Staff Editorial

 

On Aug. 29 The Runner broke news on an inappropriate touching incident that happened at CSU Bakersfield in an attempt to inform students and the CSUB community.

The next morning many local media outlets followed in reporting the incident to their viewers.

One entity notably missing in the disseminating of information throughout the Bakersfield community was CSUB’s University Police Department.

At least not before the suspect was caught attempting to touch yet another student around 1:20 p.m. on Aug. 30.

Granted that UPD Chief Marty Williamson released a campus bulletin after locating the subject, there was a lack of immediacy in notifying the CSUB students about the perpetrator before he was caught.

The timely warning notification is a warning that is sent out to the CSUB community to notify members about serious crimes that occur on campus, according to the Clery Act.

The UPD chief or a designee will typically develop the warning notice and distribute it, whether the incident is directly or indirectly reported to the UPD.

The department issues crime alerts for incidents regarding criminal homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, sexual assault, arson or any other crime as determined necessary by the Chief of Police or his or her designee.

The warning will usually include details and description of the incident and information “that will promote safety and potentially aid in the prevention of similar crimes,” according to the Clery Act.

There was no such warning received by CSUB students before the suspect was located and identified by UPD on Aug. 30.

Although Williamson said that he was working with various people trying to get the information out when he got the call that a set of students had spotted the suspect north of Dorothy Donahoe Hall, it was not immediate enough.

The Aug. 29 incident reportedly happened around 3:00 p.m.

The campus bulletin that gave details on the suspect, along with information noting that the subject had been located and banned, was sent out 24 hours after the incident was first reported.

Without an immediate warning being sent out, CSUB students were put at risk by not being informed by the CSUB campus that there was an incident where a subject was inappropriately touching other students before leaving campus without being caught, potentially posing an ongoing threat to the CSUB community.

Had the incident not have been reported by the local media outlets, students would have been unaware of the situation and might not have reported the Aug. 30 incident.

On Aug. 31, a female Bakersfield College student was running along Panorama Drive when a male approached her in a vehicle offering her a ride and yelled at her demanding she get in the vehicle after she ignored him.

The student then ran through the campus and made contact with BC staff.

The Kern Community College District sent out a timely warning to BC students with details about the incident, suspect information and warning students to be aware of their surroundings.

An email and text message was sent out less than two hours following the incident.

CSUB students have the right to feel safe on campus, that includes being informed in a timely manner when there is an imminent threat on campus, instead of being put in a precarious situation where the student is left unaware of information that can be used to better protect themselves.

Waiting 24 hours before releasing information that can serve to protect CSUB’s student population seems contradictory to the UPD values to promote safety on campus.

 

 

 

 

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The Student News Site of California State University, Bakersfield
EDITORIAL: UPD fails to warn students