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Increasing amounts of crime on campus have students and faculty on the look out

By David Hughes
On March 12, 2015

On Saturday, February 23, Marist student punches heavy glass window in front of the Hancock Center. This was not the first time a student has deflated security's ego and went on to damage school property here at Marist College.  Last year, the school dealt with what is to be considered a 'Motor Vehicle Theft', when a couple of students took a joyride in a golf cart.  This incident and the recent defiling of the Hancock widow asks multiple questions about the presence of crime here on campus and how it is being dealt with.      

"Most of our crimes deal with alcohol and forged licenses here on campus", says John Gildard, Director of Safety & Security at Marist and ex-City of Poughkeepsie police officer.  He explained that if you are caught with a forged license in the state of New York, it is considered a felony and up to a year in prison.  While the crime records on the Marist Security page held no information of forged licenses, it did have a section marked as 'Liquor Law Violations'.  According to the report, in 2013, on the Main Campus, there were 494 offenses; the highest it has been in years and doubling that of last year's total.  Another crime that Mr. Gildard addressed was the, "fear of the fire".  This is his "biggest fear" among all crimes committed on campus for a variety of reasons. 

"When students are using drugs in the dorm rooms, they cover up the fire alarm with a sock or something, leading to a whole lot of danger," said Gildard.        

He and his staff worry the most about this issue because if students pass out during the process and something catches fire, there is no alert or notification of a fire from the alarm.  He says him and his seventy-five staff members are certainly watchful of fires on campus. 

 Other than those crimes specifically, there are an abundance of other things a student can do to catch the eye of not only security, but there Residential Assistant as well.  Something as easy as walking into an open room or dorm and stealing money or an item is considered to be a burglary.  With 29 burglaries having happened in the past three years, Marist Security have come up with a system called "Lock It OR Lose It".  This is a crime prevention technique where officers go around dorms letting students know how vital it is to lock up their things.  Other events that most commonly occur inside dorms are sex offenses and assaults.  There is no record of any assault or sex offense coming from off campus, they occur on campus.  In the past three years, there have been three aggravated assault cases and sex offenses.

All of these crimes have different disciplinary consequences given each individual scenario.  For a forged license, if you are picked up by Marist Security, you are scheduled to a hearing with Student Conduct & Student Affairs.  If you are picked up by the Poughkeepsie Police, your consequences could be heavier.  And even if your are living off campus, you are not immune to disciplinary action.  If you are caught by police for a violation, students living off campus are still placed on the Marist Security's final disciplinary report at the end of the year.  John Gildard stresses that these consequences are meant to be a learning curve, not a punishment.  The school is here to help students with their problems and guide them through them, not pin them for breaking the rules and leave it at that.            


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