Public Safety Update

December 2, 2004

Case 1

 – November 12/13 vandalism of art work on display at Blanchard at an exhibition entitled "Womyn of Color".

The Public Safety investigation has identified a suspect in this case who is a 5 college student. We expect to seek a “show cause” hearing to bring criminal charges within the next few days.

Case 2

 – November 13/14 sexually and racially harassing phone calls to the same student as in Case 1.

The Public Safety investigation has resulted in "show cause" hearings for two individuals, one will be held in the Hadley District Court on the morning of December 10 the other on December 20th. We hope that these hearings will result in the arraignment of both suspects on charges of making an annoying telephone call; accosting and annoying a person of the opposite sex; threat to commit a crime; and, assault to intimidate (a civil rights, i.e., hate crime, violation).

Case 3

– This is a new incident that took place early in the morning of November 26.

The same student involved in the first two cases received a sexually harassing phone call. Public safety was again able to identify the owner of the cell phone, and then the person who made the call, both of whom are five-College students. Both the owner and the caller voluntarily came in to be questioned by public safety.

The call was placed in Rhode Island and received in upstate New York. Consequently we have no jurisdiction over it and can only ask the NY police and district attorney's office to prosecute. We have given them the results of our investigation and urged them, and will continue to urge them, to prosecute.

The caller has been trespassed from campus, and we are pursuing disciplinary action on the owner's and the caller's home campus.

I am horrified and angry that one of our students has been the victim of these crimes. It is particularly disturbing that it has been the same student in all three cases. Despite the improbability, it appears definite that the three crimes were quite unrelated. The student's name and phone number had been in both phones' directories - in one case from a former acquaintance, and in the other because the owner was interested in purchasing some of the student's art work.

It is possible that the community will suffer more calls of this nature. I have been hearing of a growing party practice of "drunken dialing" in which cell phones are passed around and calls made to numbers in their directories. It is likely that these people believe that cell phone calls cannot be traced, or that tracing can be blocked. If so, then our aggressive prosecution may contribute to the swift demise of this outrageous practice.

Case 4

 – Homophobic and threatening emails were made to a different one of our students. Again, Public Safety was able to identify the emailer despite the fact that AOL would not release any information, and were able in questioning him to extract enough information to seek a show cause hearing. The emailer was a former high school acquaintance of our student. We are seeking criminal charges in this case too, and a show cause hearing is scheduled for December 20th.