Recently, SUNY Geneseo sent out a campus-wide email alerting students of an alleged rape and requesting if anyone had further information regarding the incident.
The incident was alleged to have taken place at an off-campus gathering. The alert, titled ‘Community Notification,’ was emailed to the student body from SUNY Geneseo Police Chief Thomas Kilcullen. The College did not, however, alert the Village outside of SUNY Geneseo’s campus that there could be a rapist in their neighborhood.
While I applaud the University for alerting the student body, my request is to have a notification system for the entire community and not just the campus. We live in an integrated community. In many cases, students are our neighbors. This is a great benefit to all as we continually learn from and help each other. SUNY Geneseo just recently celebrated their continued recognition for the student body’s volunteerism, in Livingston County and abroad. At times this can be a stressful for the two communities, but the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences.
As far as this alert, there are many details that have not been made public. Quite possibly, the offender of the sexual assault might not be a SUNY Geneseo student. In cases like this, because of the way in which our communities are intertwined, the possible threat to village residents, and vice-versa do exist. It’s in times like these where students and full-time residents need to be mutually prepared for and aware of danger.
I think it wouldn’t be too difficult for the College to host a voluntary email list for both students and community members. If someone wants to receive emergency alerts about incidents involving SUNY Geneseo students, however infrequent, let them sign up.
The potential benefit is that our intertwined communities would be better-connected and safer with improved communications. If residents are aware of a criminal, suspicious or dangerous incidents involving college students, they can be on the lookout for unusual activity and better assist in police investigations. And alerts need not all be negative. It would be fantastic for SUNY Geneseo to directly invite residents to the many wonderful public art exhibits, shows and functions that take place with improved community awareness.
The GeneseeSun.com tries to keep on top of the College’s comings and goings, but we can’t catch everything. On top of that, the reality is that not everyone in our community reads us every day, and other news sources in the community are less timely and more prone to protecting establishments in lieu of informing the community. This service would would alert the community faster if the College was able to contact residents directly, and in a real emergency, minutes count.
I commend the College and its leadership for notifying the student body of the reported sexual assault, and hope that they soon consider including their non-college friends and neighbors in such critical safety alerts.