BY SHANZEH AHMAD AND YASIR ALHUMAIDAN | PHOTO BY YASIR ALHUMAIDAN
Last month the Edgewood College community was informed of an alleged sexual assault that occurred on October 13 in one of the residence halls on campus. Officials involved in the investigation refused to release further details.
The incident was reported to the security office on October 23 by a third party; however, the email informing people of the situation was not sent out until October 31. The email explained that the victim and the perpetrator knew each other.
The crime log that the College is required to keep states that the alleged sexual assault took place on October 13 at around one in the morning. The name of the residence hall was missing from the crime log because the director of security, Mike Metcalf, said he is waiting until the investigation is over. Metcalf then added the missing information to the log; however On The Edge will not be reporting it at this time as it may identify the individuals involved.
When a sexual assault or other crime is reported to the security department, Edgewood officials must first send out a timely warning, or crime warning, via email, to all students, staff, and faculty. This warning is mandated by the federal Clery Act to be given to all members of the affected community. Bethany Lamolinara, a representative of the Clery Center in Pennsylvania, said, “There is no specific timeline articulated in terms of hours or days the college has to get the timely warning out…the handbook says as soon as pertinent information is available.”
After a crime has been reported, the campus community is given the bare minimum of information. Tony Chambers, vice president for student development and dean of students at Edgewood, said, “There are limits to what we can share.” Chambers said it is important to withhold specific information for the victim’s sake — Metcalf agreed. “You have to assume that someone is innocent until they are proven guilty,” said Chambers.
Metcalf said the college needs to protect the victim. “The Clery Act is pretty significant, and it gives a whole bunch of things that we are required to do as a college.”
The Clery Act is a consumer protection law passed in 1990 that requires colleges and universities to share information about crime on campus and inform the public of crime in or around campus.
Metcalf said the names of the people involved in the alleged sexual assault have not been released because Edgewood practices strict confidentiality both for the victim and the perpetrator. He said this information would be shared only if there is a certain and sudden danger posed to other members of the community. “There is nothing that can be gained by putting some people’s names or a location out for the public, unless it is absolutely necessary for safety reasons,” said Metcalf. “We are not trying to hide anything. We send out the timely warnings and we want the Edgewood community to look at those emails and realize its importance.”
The reported sexual assault is currently being investigated by Edgewood’s Title IX coordinator, Pam LaValliere, and an assigned deputy coordinator. It is unknown whether the victim decided to involve the police in the investigation. On The Edge will report any updates surrounding the case as necessary.