NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – In a news release today, March 13, Rutgers University President Robert Barchi announced an expanded crime notification system to alert students, faculty and staff at the university’s New Brunswick campus of serious crimes that occur within the city’s 5th and 6th wards. The president also announced that he has asked the chancellors of the university’s campuses in Camden and Newark to review their notification policies and determine if changes are warranted at those locations.
“The federal Clery Act requires all colleges and universities to notify students and others of crimes that occur on campuses or on properties immediately adjacent to them. Our new policy recognizes that adhering to the federal law simply doesn’t in all instances meet the needs of our community,” Barchi said.
Under the new policy, students, faculty and staff at the New Brunswick campus will be notified of serious crimes against persons that occur beyond the boundaries of the Clery Act anywhere in the 5th and 6th wards of the city. The 5th and 6th wards include those off-campus neighborhoods most heavily populated and frequented by students. In addition, the university will inform its community of serious incidents against Rutgers students, faculty and staff in other parts of the city and areas surrounding the campuses when the university is made aware of any incidents.
“The federal law establishes minimum reporting requirements; in most cases, compliance with the Clery Act suffices for notification purposes. In certain cases, however, especially those involving serious injury, we think it is appropriate to go beyond compliance with the minimum federal legal standard,” said Richard L. Edwards, interim chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
“Rather than relying on the guidelines of the federal law, the president, our public safety personnel and I have developed this new protocol to help all of the members of our campus community make informed choices concerning their safety,” he added.
Under the Clery Act, notifications are required only when a crime occurs on or immediately adjacent to the campus and when there is an ongoing threat to the campus community.
Clery Act notification, for example, was not required following the February murder of William McCaw, a 22 year-old man who once attended the university and who was killed at a location beyond the geographic limits set by the federal law. The incident would trigger notification under the new guidelines.
McCaw’s death is being investigated by the Middlesex County Prosecutor with the assistance of local law enforcement agencies.
“The new policy will be implemented as quickly as possible and will capitalize on the close working relationships that the university has with law enforcement and elected officials in the city of New Brunswick,” Edwards said.