GENESEO – Community representatives and campus officials appear to be miles apart after public statements were issued by a Village Board Trustee and the head of campus life.
At Monday night’s Village Board meeting, Trustee Bob Wilcox reported a lack of communication with the college. As a member of the Healthy Campus Community Coalition, he questioned the administration’s delay in taking action against the fraternity Phi Sigma Xi (PHIGS) following the drug-related death of one of their members in May 2014.
“I did bring up why [SUNY Geneseo] took so long to take any action against the Phi Sigs,” said Wilcox. “They didn’t give me an answer, and I did bring up that the University of Oklahoma did not hurt itself by smacking those people down, and that some racist comments are not nearly as bad as a death.”
Following an inquiry from the GeneseeSun.com, Robert Bonfiglio, Vice President for Student and Campus Life, issued the following statement:
“When the institution takes conduct action against individuals or groups, it does so judiciously, and only after it has been given access to the information that has been gathered by the other local agencies related to a given situation, and it does so ever-mindful of student due process rights. Such situations take time to address effectively. As complex as they are, these situations require a consultative, collaborative, communal approach. That is, in essence, the rationale for the existence of the Compact that the Town and College have agreed to, which states in part that:
– Violations of the SUNY Geneseo Code of Conduct that affect the quality of life in the Village of Geneseo will be adjudicated through the procedures established in the Code.
– The President of the College will communicate to all students and parents the expected standards of conduct in the community.
– The Village of Geneseo Police Department will provide all reports involving SUNY Geneseo students to the College through the University Police Department.
– The University and Village Police Departments will mutually share information about where and how underage students are procuring alcoholic beverages and where and how all students are procuring illegal substances.
– The Village of Geneseo will continue its active village-wide enforcement of all housing and code complaints and infractions, and inform the College of complaints and infractions pertaining to SUNY Geneseo student conduct.
“We continue to support principles outlined in the Town Gown Compact, as these principles provide a foundation for the work of the Healthy-Campus Community Coalition.
“The College just completed summer orientation for new students and their parents, at which the topics of underage drinking, drug use, hazing, sexual assault and expectations for student behavior in the Village of Geneseo were discussed at length. Students’ parents received a letter about Greek Life, and the need for students to carefully consider all of the aspects of fraternity and sorority membership before seeking membership. Students’ parents also received a letter about College life and drinking alcohol, accompanying a booklet entitled ‘A Parent Handbook for Talking with College Students About Alcohol.’ All of these compliment the College’s aggressive, comprehensive, long-standing efforts to promote student well-being and responsible student behavior.”
SUNY Geneseo told the Village in May that following the inauguration of Denise Battles as College President, they would like a meeting with Mayor Richard Hatheway to discuss the role and future of the coalition.
Members of the coalition include Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian; Lauren Thompson, Coordinator Of Late Night Programs and Activities for SUNY Geneseo; Dana Minton, Coordinator of Health Promotion for SUNY Geneseo; JoBeth Rath, Workforce Development Manager for Goodwill of the Finger Lakes; Thomas Walters, medical director of Livingston County CASA’s (Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse) Geneseo branch; Scott Kenney, Assistant Chief of University Police for SUNY Geneseo; Tamara Kenney, Assistant Dean of Students for Student Conduct and Community Standards for SUNY Geneseo; Jim Whitehead, Geneseo Tourism; Wendi Kinney, Assistant Dean of Students for Fraternal Life and Off-Campus Services; Joe Van Remmen, Inspector for University Police, and Superintendent of the Geneseo School District Tim Hayes.