Wesleyan Student Assembly — Wesleyan University
Fountain Avenue Commission Recommendation
Code of Non-Academic Conduct and Student Judicial Board Review
The Commission recommends:
- An extensive review of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct (CNAC) and Student Judicial Board (SJB) policies and procedures by the appropriate governance bodies. The Student Life committee shall play a central role in this review.
- The creation of a CNAC document separate from the SJB policies and procedures document. The Commission believes that students will be more likely to read the CNAC in full if it is presented as a shorter document.
Community and Officer Relations
The Commission recognizes that relationships between Wesleyan students, the surrounding community, and enforcement officials have been strained. We would like to see substantive measures taken to improve those relationships. The Commission was unable to find a single solution to these problems, but instead has brainstormed specific ideas that could potentially foster better relations.
The Commission recommends consideration of the following programs intended to improve Public Safety-Student Relations:
- The institutionalizing of the adopt-a-hall program, where Public Safety adopts freshman and sophomore halls and program houses. Create monthly hall programs with adopted officers to encourage true relationship building.
- Reestablish a former program in which Public Safety officers came to the dorms, introduced themselves, and gave students a ticket for a free coffee at Pi Cafe.
- Invite Public Safety officers to woodframe area and High and Low Rise barbecues.
- Have conversations as an institution through a Public Safety-Student forum.
- Create a program where interested students could shadow Public Safety officers.
- Create a work-study and job program where students can work as safety escorts for other students. This would foster student-Public Safety interactions because student workers would have training from Public Safety and would be stationed in the Public Safety office. There may also be other suitable Public Safety work-study or job positions.
- Public Safety demonstrations for students, such as a mace demonstration class. One session demonstrations would be particularly useful.
- Hold a periodic event called “Pancakes with Public Safety” — it could consist of brunch or a late-night breakfast in Usdan or dorms.
The Commission recommends consideration of the following programs intended to improveMiddletown Police Department-Student Relations:
- Create a student group that organizes events with MPD. Specifically, the group could organize dinners with take-out from Middletown restaurants, followed by an on-campus event like a concert, play, or sports game. The group could actively invite other Wesleyan students to join them.
- Hold a regular &ldqo;Midnight Breakfast with MPD&rdqo; in Usdan. Let all MPD officers know the schedule so they can stop by for some free food and student conversation.
- Organize MPD-woodframe or dorm barbecues.
- Organize MPD-student ride-alongs in MPD vehicles.
- Hold a student-MPD forum to encourage a dialogue between MPD and students.
The Commission recommends consideration of the following program intended to improve Public Safety & MPD-Student Relations:
- The establishment of Public Safety-MPD-student intramurals. Specific sport-oriented leagues or teams, or a group that engages in a different activity at every meeting, could be created. The Commission especially encourages MPD-Student-Public Safety regular basketball games.
Note: The Commission recommends that efforts also be made to include members of the Middletown Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services in some activities with MPD.
The Commission recommends consideration of the following programs intended to improveUniversity-Community Relations:
- Take further measures to encourage students to introduce themselves to their neighbors when they move in to a senior house.
- Create a student babysitting list for area residents, Public Safety officers and MPD officers. The University should consider funding the babysitting.
- Public Safety should canvas the houses near the University to introduce themselves and build trust with area residents.
- The formation of block networks on co-habited streets that include a list of numbers for neighborhood watch. Information could be available in the form of a listserve, phone list, and address list.
- Hold block parties or other events with area residents.
- Hold neighbor-to-neighbor forums to encourage a dialogue between Wesleyan students and their neighbors.
- Create a map that distinguishes between both Wesleyan houses and non-Wesleyan houses so it’s clear to students what property belongs to the University and what does not.
- Further encourage students to notify all neighbors, including Middletown residents, when they will be holding a party. Exchange phone numbers so neighbors can call the student before MPD or Public Safety.
- Design events that will be attractive to both Middletown residents and Wesleyan students. In particular plan events with Middletown teens.
- Hold legal seminars that will educate students about their responsibilities as residents of Middletown.
Hand-held Camera Policy Recommendations
- Hand-held cameras can only be used for documentary purposes. Hand-held cameras can not be used as a deterrent or for crowd control. The questionable effectiveness of hand-held cameras in these situations does not merit the consequent loss of student privacy.
Public Safety Protocol:
- Newly purchased hand-held cameras can not be used or stored in Public Safety vehicles without prior approval of the Student Life Committee (SLC).
- Hand-held cameras should be used to survey the scene,not to record an individual student's actions.
- The use of hand-held cameras must be approved by all Public Safety shift supervisors on duty before they are used by any Public Safety officer.
The Use of Camera Footage:
- Hand-held camera footage can only be viewed with a subpoena from law enforcement or by request of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Vice President for Student Affairs may request to view this footage for institutional assessment purposes only. For instance, the footage taken of Fountain Avenue during the early hours of May 16, 2008 was useful to the Fountain Avenue Working Group in creating a narrative of the evening’s events and assessing the general situation.
- The University will not use the footage to identify individual students. Footage shall not be used to prosecute students in the Student Judicial Board.
- Footage shall be destroyed within 30 days unless the time is extended by the Vice President for Student Affairs, who shall consult with the SLC.
Temporary Camera Recommendations
The Commission believes that it is important to distinguish between the purpose and appropriate use of permanent and temporary cameras. The Commission chose to edit the current University Camera Policy because it is mostly appropriate for temporary cameras, but needs specific rules regarding temporary cameras incorporated in to it. The bold type within the text indicates our changes and additions.
Wesleyan University Camera Policy
WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY IN MIDDLETOWN, CT
Wesleyan University Policy on Closed Circuit Television Surveillance and Recording of Public Areas for Safety and Security Purposes
The purpose of this policy is to regulate the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) and Web cameras to observe and record public areas for the purposes of safety and security. The existence of this policy does not imply or guarantee any aspect of surveillance including but not limited to areas or times of coverage or monitoring.
This policy applies to all personnel and departments of the University in the use of CCTV and Web camera surveillance and recording. Legitimate academic uses of this technology are covered by University policies governing research with human subjects and are, therefore, excluded from this policy.
- Wesleyan University in Middletown is committed to enhancing the quality of life of the campus community by integrating the best practices of public and private policing with state-of-the-art technology. A critical component of a comprehensive security plan using state-of-the-art technology is closed circuit television (CCTV) and web cameras.
The sole purpose of CCTV and web camera surveillance of public areas is to deter crime and to assist Public Safety and the police in protecting the safety and property of the University community. CCTV will not be used to enforce minor infractions of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct, such as alcohol violations, without permission from the Vice President for Student Affairs. Further, any diversion of security technologies and personnel for other purposes (e.g., surveillance of political or religious activities, or employee and/or student evaluations) would undermine the acceptability of these resources for critical safety goals and is therefore prohibited by this policy.
The primary purpose of temporary cameras is investigative. Temporary cameras may only be installed in order to investigate instances of vandalism or property destruction. Temporary camera footage will not be used to enforce infractions of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct that do not correspond with its specific investigative purpose.
- Video surveillance for security purposes will be conducted in a professional, ethical and legal manner. Personnel involved in video surveillance will be appropriately trained and supervised in the responsible use of this technology. Violations of the Code of Procedures [Section V below] for video surveillance referenced in this policy may result in disciplinary action consistent with the rules and regulations governing employees of the University.
Information obtained through video surveillance will only be released when authorized by the Wesleyan University Director of Public Safety in consultation with the Vice President for Student Affairs according to the procedures established in this policy.
For temporary cameras, information not directly pertaining to the specific investigative purpose of a camera will not be released unless authorized by the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Student Life Committee. Exceptions include overt and egregious violations of state and/or federal law, such as sexual misconduct or assault, that are being investigated by state/and or federal law enforcement.
- Video surveillance of public areas for security purposes will be conducted in a manner consistent with all existing University policies, including the Non-Discrimination Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy. The Code of Procedures for video surveillance prohibits surveillance based on the characteristics and classifications contained in the Non-Discrimination Policy (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, etc.).
- Video Surveillance of public areas for security purposes at the Campus is limited to uses that do not violate the reasonable expectation to privacy as defined by law.
- The Wesleyan University Public Safety Department is the department authorized to oversee and coordinate the use of CCTV and Web camera surveillance for safety and security purposes at the University. All University units using CCTV and Web camera surveillance are responsible for implementing this policy in their respective operations. Public Safety has primary responsibility for disseminating the policy and assisting other units in implementing the policy and procedures.
The Director of Public Safety has the responsibility to authorize all CCTV and Web camera surveillance for safety and security purposes at the University. The Director of Public Safety will consult with appropriate governance groups with respect to new camera locations and changes to this policy. The Student Life Committee will review and approve such proposals. The community will be advised of all new installation of cameras and will review these with the appropriate groups. All new installations will follow this University Policy.
A temporary camera's specific investigative purpose must be outlined by the Director of Public Safety in a report to the co-chairs of the Student Life Committee. The co-chairs must approve said camera before it is put in place. If either co-chair takes issue with the camera placement, a camera will not be placed until after the full Student Life Committee approves its placement at its next meeting. If the use of said camera is discontinued, it's footage must be destroyed immediately.
Following the approval and placement of a camera, the Director of Public Safety will be required to come before the Student Life Committee to present a report outlining the effectiveness of said camera in performing its specific investigative task in no more than 30 days. Should a camera be proven ineffective, its use will be discontinued. Should it be proven effective and the need for the camera still exists, the SLC may approve its continued use for another 30 days and must approve it for any other future extensions of use.
The SLC will have the power to decide whether or not to inform the community of the installation of a temporary camera. Since signs indicating the presence of a temporary camera would detract from its investigative functions, if the SLC chooses to inform the community of a temporary camera the community must be alerted via all-campus communications, indicating A) the purpose for camera placement, B) the 30 day time limit before said camera is subject to renewal, and C) the procedures by which camera placement may be petitioned in accordance with Section IV Part D. Should a camera be renewed, the community will again be informed.
- Public Safety will monitor new developments in the relevant law and in security industry practices to ensure that CCTV and Web camera surveillance at the Campus is consistent with the highest standards, protections, and compliant with all Federal, State, and local laws
Public Safety will accept input and recommendations on camera locations, and also review camera locations to ensure the perimeter of view of fixed location cameras conforms to this policy. The proposed location of permanent CCTV/Web cameras will be reviewed by the Director of Public Safety for approval before installation. See Section IV B for guidelines regarding temporary cameras.
Students and staff entering certain sensitive locations on campus may have an increased concern for privacy or confidentiality. In order to prevent a possible chilling effect at these locations, concerned persons may petition the Director of Public Safety to forgo the installation of a proposed camera or for the removal of an existing camera. The Director of Public Safety will determine the appropriateness of an installation weighing the concerns of the person(s) making the requests and the safety and security of the entire community.
In recognizing students may also have an enhanced expectation of privacy in the hallways and lounges of residence facilities, CCTV/Web camera surveillance for safety and security purposes will not be used in residential hallways and lounges unless the Director of Public Safety determines that a specific safety/security risk exists. Such cameras should be treated as temporary in status and therefore in policy, unless deemed otherwise by the Director of Public Safety and the Student Life Committee (see Section IV B).
The Public Safety Department will review complaints regarding camera locations and determine whether this CCTV/Web camera surveillance policy is being followed. The Director of Public Safety will determine whether the potential increment in community security outweighs any likely infringement of individual privacy. Any appeal of a decision by the Director of Public Safety will be reviewed by the Vice President of Student affairs, who will render a final decision.
The Director of Public Safety will review all requests received by the Office of Public Safety to release recordings obtained through CCTV/Web camera surveillance. No releases of CCTV/Web camera recordings will occur without authorization by the Director of Public Safety who will ensure that such release is in accordance with applicable law or regulation including by not limited to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA. When appropriate, the Director of Public Safety will confer with the Vice President for Student affairs with respect to such requests.
The Vice President of Student Affairs may audit any college or department's CCTV/Web camera surveillance operations, including videotape storage, at any time.
Code of Procedures
- All operators and supervisors involved in the video surveillance of public areas will perform their duties in accordance with this policy.
- Appropriate signage will be placed at all camera locations with the exception of temporary camera locations (as indicated in Section IV B). Signage will state, “THIS AREA IS SUBJECT TO VIDEO SURVEILLANCE.”
- The Office of Public Safety will limit camera positions and views of residential housing. Any view of housing will be no greater than what is available with unaided vision. Furthermore the view of a residential housing facility must not violate the standard of “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
- Surveillance centers will be configured to prevent camera operators tampering with or duplicating recorded information.
All camera footage - permanent, temporary, and handheld - will be destroyed no later than 30 days after its capture unless retained as part of a criminal investigation or court proceedings (criminal or civil), or other bona fide use as approved by the Director of Public Safety and the Student Life Committee co-chairs. Footage used in ongoing investigations of violations of state and/or federal law will be returned to the University and destroyed at the conclusion of saidinvestigation.
[Note - previously began “Recorded video may be store for a period not to exceed 30 days and will then be erased,&rdquo]
- Video footage will be stored in a secure location with access by authorized personnel only.
- Camera control operators who view recorded video footage must do so in the presence of a supervisor to maintain the integrity of that video footage.
- Camera control operators will be trained in the technical, legal, and ethical parameters of appropriate camera use. Camera control operators will receive a copy of this policy and provide written acknowledgment that they have read and understood its contents.
- Camera control operators will not monitor individuals based on characteristics of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or other classifications protected by the University's Non-Discrimination Policy. Camera control operators will monitor based on suspicious behavior, not individual characteristics.
- Camera control operators will NOT view private rooms or areas through windows.
This policy is subject to annual review by the Public Safety Advisory Committee and the Student Life Committee. Proposed amendments to this policy shall be directed to the Director of Public Safety and to the aforementioned committees.
Educate Students on Policy & Legal Issues
The Commission believes that the incident that occurred on Fountain Avenue during the early hours of May 16, 2008 could have been avoided if students had been better educated about their legal rights and obligations, as well as University policies.
The Commission recommends that significant effort be made to more widely disseminate information about student rights, legal obligations, and University policies. The Commission recommends the creation of a concise and easily accessible document that lists some of the most important, and most often forgotten, information. The Commission believes that a single, accessible document that touches on the most important points will be read more carefully and reviewed more often by students than the bulky Code of Non-Academic Conduct and other University policies posted across the University website and in the student handbook.
In order to reach as many students as possible, this information should be distributed in multiple forms, including but not limited to: a rights and responsibilities pamphlet, a small and easy to carry tip sheet (preferably wallet-sized), and through a link in the e-portfolio. In addition, the Commission recommends postering to publicize that this information is available and where it can be found.
The Commission recommends that the following points of information be addressed as concisely and clearly as possible in the educational document. There may be additional relevant information that should be included that the Commission has not sited.
Information to include:
- Middletown's open container laws, noise regulations, and rules about congregating on city property and staying out of the street. Other city ordinances should be reviewed to assess whether there is any other information pertinent to student life that should be included in this document.
- As hosts, students are liable for the actions of their guests.
- A map that indicates which homes and backyards are University owned and which are not so when students are directed to return to University property they know where they are permitted. In addition, the map will be helpful for students to identify their neighbors that are unaffiliated with the University.
- What the Middletown Police Department has the legal right to do when they come to campus, specifically when they are permitted to use force.
- Information regarding Public Safety's right to call the Middletown Police Department and their obligation to assist the police once they arrive on campus.
- Student rights when interacting with Public Safety. Students must comply with all requests from Public Safety.
- ID education. Many students do not know that they are required to show Public Safety their WesCards when they are requested, but will not necessarily be in trouble at that time.
- How to file a complaint against a member of Public Safety.
- Student Judicial Board convictions stay on your record for six years after graduation and are usable for background checks when specifically requested by an employer or educational institution.
- Details about end-of-year judicial procedures. Students often do not realize that they are still responsible for their actions at the end of the academic year and may be required to have a judicial conference or face the Student Judicial Board or an interim board.
- Administrators inspecting your room can not go in to your drawers and closets if they do not clearly appear suspicious. In order to protect their privacy, students should keep their personal items there and make sure that drawers and closets are closed.
- For more complete information about University policy, see the Student Handbook (wesleyan.edu/studenthandbook/).
Social Spaces for Students
The Commission recommends the creation of a safe place for of-age students to drink on campus. The best solution would be the creation of an on-campus pub. If a pub is not feasible, the Commission recommends the creation of a public venue where students can gather and bring their own alcohol.
The Commission recommends the reinstating of an annual fall semester event similar to Spring Fling.
The Commission also recommends that the University obtain a block party permit for Fountain Avenue at least once a semester on a Friday or Saturday night. Such a permit would make the street a safe, legal, and fun place for students to gather. In addition, the Commission recommends holding a senior block party at which alcohol is served during senior week.
Event Registration During Reading and Finals Week
Students should be able to register events throughout reading and finals week. Since events will occur regardless of their ability to be registered during reading and finals week, the registration process should be kept open so that the University administration and Public Safety will be aware of when and where events are occurring. A prohibition on registration results in more “underground” events and unsafe drinking, and therefore diminishes Public Safety's ability to respond effectively in the event that a situation occurs.
Social Event Policy Recommendations
Public Safety's principal responsibility is to help ensure the safety and security of the University community.
To that end, social event registration should be required whenever fifty or more students are gathered for an unexempt event. Since senior house capacity is under fifty students, senior houses are not required to register events.
It should be noted that a fifty person limit applies to those students who are participating in the event in question, not to students in the house as a whole.
The purpose of social event registration is:
- To uphold the University's interest in and liability to ensure the safety of the student body.
- To ensure the safety of the University community and property by informing Public Safety and the appropriate members of the University administration of planned events.
- To ensure that Public Safety will be able to identify and react quickly to distinctly unobservable threats to the University community (“unobservable” refers to events primarily occurring within boundaries that obstruct the line of sight between Public Safety and a given event).
The Commission has determined that if students had remained in the back yards of Fountain Avenue the resulting flood of individuals in to the street would not have occurred and the subsequent events of that night could have been avoided. Therefore outdoor events should be exempt from the social event registration policy.
Due to the potential for noise violations, concerts on University property should be registered, even if they take place outdoors.
Students should be aware that Public Safety will respond to violations of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct regardless of registration.
The Commission recommends that first time violators of the Social Event Policy have the option to bypass a visit to the Student Judicial Board (SJB) and complete host training as a sanction. Students who feel that they have been wrongfully accused of violating the Policy have the right to plead their case in front of the SJB.
In addition to the above recommendations, the Commission believes that the education of students is critical. Our educational recommendations are enumerated in our Education document.
Public Safety Protocol for Addressing Violations of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct
This document outlines the Commission’s recommendations for Public Safety protocol in response to a complaint made against a student or student residence. This includes complaints made by members of the University community, including Public Safety, as well as by outside parties. The purpose of Public Safety's presence on campus is to protect students and keep them safe rather than prosecute them, especially when a student works to remedy a situation.
- The officer on the scene should engage student(s) directly involved in a given situation and inform them A) of the aspects of their actions that are potential Code of Non-Academic Conduct (CNAC) violations (ex. holding an open cup on city property) and B) that the officer is required to file a report.
- The officer should ask them to rectify the situation. This request should be used in situations in which student rectification is possible (i.e. a noise violation, over capacity of the building, or any other violation within a student’s capacity to correct). The sentiment behind this clause is that students may or may not be aware of their violation and, despite the fact that they should take responsibility for their actions at all times, should not be immediately found in violation without first being given an opportunity to alleviate the situation. Should ze explicitly ignore or refuse a request by a Public Safety officer, said officer can take whatever measures that are outlined in official Public Safety protocol to alleviate the situation.
- After a student has acknowledged an officer's request, if the situation is not rectified by the student with in a specified period of time, the officer should offer hir assistance.
- The purpose of this clause is two-fold:
- To prevent a student from being held as non-compliant when they have obeyed lawful orders, yet due to extenuating circumstances are still in violation (i.e., a student unsuccessfully trying to clear a crowd from their house or dormitory).
- To present Public Safety as a campus resource for students, not simply as a prosecutorial figure.
- If assistance is not requested, and the situation has not been remedied to the satisfaction of the Public Safety officer on the scene within another specified period of time, then the officer should provide the student with a verbal notification that they will potentially face a violation of the CNAC. A charge of non-compliance should not be assigned unless it is blatant that a student is making no effort to remedy the situation.
- If assistance is requested, Public Safety shall proceed as they see fit to bring the situation under control.
- Once the situation is remedied, the officer will detail the progression of events in hir report. A Public Safety report is not an official complaint. Public Safety is responsible for filing charges against the student if they want charges to be filed. The SJB may notadd charges that are not specified by Public Safety.
General Public Safety Protocol Recommendations
The Commission recommends that Public Safety utilize decibel meters or other more effective technology in order to more fairly measure the noise level coming from a student residence when a complaint has been made against them. The Middletown Police Department uses decibel meters when they are following up on a noise complaint against a Middletown resident.
The Commission recommends that Public Safety better utilize its vehicles’ loudspeakers in appropriate situations, such as a tool for the clearing of a crowded street. In the case of a non-responsive crowd, Public Safety should also use bullhorns to try to get the crowd’s attention. Officers should also make an effort to personally ask as many students as possible to leave the scene and to return to University property.
The Commission recommends a review of the current process for filing complaints against Public Safety. Currently the policy consists of sending a complaint via email to the Director of Public Safety. The Commission urges the involvement of more community members in such a process.
Public Safety Protocol for Requesting Assistance from the Middletown Police Department
This document outlines the Commission's recommendation for Public Safety protocol when requesting assistance from the police. It is vital that Public Safety does not call MPD until all other options have been tried and exhausted. Once MPD's assistance is requested, Public Safety loses all control of a situation and is obligated to do whatever the police requests of them, even if they disagree with the actions being taken by the police. Consequently, Public Safety should recognize the seriousness of requesting police assistance and be hesitant to call MPD unless it is absolutely necessary. The Commission believes that there were further measures that Public Safety could have taken before all options were exhausted to clear Fountain Avenue on May 16, 2008.
- Both Public Safety supervisors on duty must approve a call requesting assistance from the Middletown Police Department before it is made.
- The supervisors may not approve a call to MPD until they have both gone to the scene and assessed the situation. The supervisors mustconfirm that all possible courses of action for remedying the situation have been tried and exhausted before they approve a call to MPD.
- Both supervisors must agree that a call to MPD is necessary. If the two supervisors disagree, MPD will not be called and more action must be taken to remedy the situation. If some time has passed and all options have been exhausted, the supervisors must both agree to call MPD in order to place a call.
- If there is only one supervisor on duty it is up to that officer's discretion to call MPD.
- If MPD is called by Public Safety to address crowd control a member of Student Affairs must be notified. Public Safety may choose to notify a member of Student Affairs in other instances as well. The approval of the member of Student Affairs is not required for Public Safety to call MPD.
- This protocol must be followed at all times unless a time-sensitive situation is occurring. Time-sensitive includes presence of immediate bodily harm to members of the University community or other persons that Public Safety is unable to handle or if a blatant crime, such as a robbery, is in progress.
- Public Safety must publicly provide an up-to-date list of every time that MPD has been called, the reasons for the call, and a brief explanation of what channels they went through (ex.: both supervisors came to the scene and approved call). This information should be made public in a timely fashion.