Email meant to reiterate campus policy startles students, but no crime committed

Benjamin Brown

No incident triggered the recent email from Lafayette Public Safety on the importance of reporting crimes against children, according to Director of Public Safety Robert Sabattis.

“[The email is] nothing more than a reminder to do what it is you are doing anyhow,” Sabattis said.

President Alison Byerly confirmed the statement.

The email is a yearly reminder of Lafayette’s zero-tolerance policy regarding violations of the law including crimes against children. Started by former Director of Public Safety Hugh Harris, the first email reminder was first sent on Nov. 16, 2011, days after the indictment of former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky on counts of crimes against young boys. A second message from Public Safety on reporting crimes was sent Oct. 3, 2012.

The 2011 email reiterated the zero-tolerance policy “in light of the disturbing events that have taken place at Penn State University.” Sabattis said the Penn State incidents could be seen as a reason for the first email reminder.

The 2013 reminder seemed to resonate more with students than in previous years, sparking some concern.

“I’m not against the position, but I was curious as to what prompted the email,” Jason Goldfarb ‘14 said.

Unlike the previous two reminders, the 2013 email contained “Importance of Reporting Crimes Against Children” in the subject line.

“Perhaps it’s more direct,” Sabattis said when told of how some students reacted. “I believe in the clarity of a message.”

Student Government Representative Ed O’Brien ‘16 said he did not remember the 2012 reminder.

“My initiation reaction was this was in response to abnormal human behavior that occurred on our campus,” O’Brien said. O’Brien said he has noticed toddlers at play on the quad.

Sabattis said that he would have liked to send it early in the academic year, but it was a rather busy term. Instead, the reminder was sent out at approximately the same time of the year as the previous reminders.

“It is a good idea to report things that might be a crime or suspect might be a crime,” Sabattis said.