Lampkin explains lack of notification in attempted abduction case
In a email sent to students Wednesday afternoon, Patricia Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, said the absence of a University-wide notification about the attempted abduction of a University student by a Runk Dining Hall employee last week was consistent with University policy.
For incidents such as this University policy is dictated by the Clery Act, a federal statute requiring colleges and universities to keep and disclose information about crime on or near their campuses.
Last Thursday night Runk employee Matthew Beaulieu attempted to abduct a female student walking on Stadium Road. He was arrested later in the evening and charged with intent to defile. The University did not notify the student body of the incident until Lampkin’s message Wednesday.
“University Police did not issue a mass email to students and the rest of the community because the circumstances did not meet all three criteria of the Clery Act, a federal law that applies to virtually all higher education institutions and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education,” Lampkin said in the email.
The three criteria of the Clery Act are: the crime must have occurred on or very close to the institution’s property; the crime is one of several that appear on a list published by the Department of Education; and the suspect is still at large and poses a continuing threat to the community. Beaulieu’s arrest Thursday evening meant the University was not legally obliged to notify students of the attack, Lampkin said.
Lampkin acknowledged the incident was of interest to students regardless of the Clery Act criteria. “While our police will continue to apply a stringent test for communication, we recognize that such incidents are of keen interest to the University community,” she said in the email. “In the future, the University will be looking at ways to present similar information in a manner that is helpful but also matched to the immediate circumstances.”
Lampkin said in an interview the purpose of the email was to clear up lingering questions about the incident and to address seasonal safety issues.
“There were too many questions and too much confusion,” Lampkin said. “I thought some students hadn’t seen the Cavalier Daily articles and I wanted to make sure that people did hear about it.”
Student Council President Johnny Vroom said Lampkin has a responsibility to students.
“It’s their discretion what they want us to know about what is occurring on Grounds, but I think that students should be informed,” Vroom said. “It’s no secret that a more informed student body is a safer student body.”
To some students the lack of University communication about the incident was concerning, especially to those living near where the incident occurred.
Third-year Nursing student Kathryn Giglio, a resident advisor in Dillard, said her residents were upset. “I know the University didn’t send an email because Beaulieu was caught so quickly, but regardless I would rather hear from the University than the media that this has happened,” Giglio said.
As for the attempted abduction’s impact on the security of the student body, Lampkin said she was confident that it was an isolated incident.
“It’s a very unusual occurrence,” Lampkin said. “I’m hoping it’s an isolated incident and I’m hoping we can keep our senses about ourselves … I certainly have not seen this type of activity in any recent years. Very unusual.”