Feb. 24, 2014
Many of you may have seen in recent reports information about private institutions (including colleges and hospitals) with private police departments seeking to protect privacy of students and patients while still abiding by current state and federal laws regarding public records.
Otterbein has a private police force that works to protect student safety while also protecting the identity of innocent victims. For victims of crime, including survivors of sexual assaults, this means that only people who need to know about an incident will be given their names and other limited information, as necessary. These people may include law enforcement officials and campus employees trained in victim support and counseling. Studies show that survivors of sexual assault are less likely to report the crime if their names are made available, and Otterbein wants to continue to offer a supportive environment for survivors to come forward. The Columbus Dispatch
recently reported that an Otterbein student journalist is seeking to gain access to records revealing the names of victims and to change records accessibility to force all police reports to include full disclosure of specific details and names of all those involved in campus incidents. This report caught the attention of two legislators, who immediately drafted a bill to the General Assembly of the State of Ohio
proposing a change in the law for all private entity law enforcement offices in Ohio.
Please know that Otterbein is a private university, not a public office, and is adhering to current state and federal laws in protecting the names of victims. We follow the guidelines set out in the federal Clery Act on the reporting of campus crimes and make the information available on our web site. Should any situation put students in danger, police implement the Red Alert notification system immediately sending notices to all students by text, email and phone with detailed instructions. We also maintain a Daily Crime Log
that is available to all students, parents and the general public. The Daily Crime Log
includes, but is not limited to, such information as date, time, location, responding officer and outcomes of incidents. Any arrest records are accessible in the court systems in which they are filed.
We educate and encourage students to report anything suspicious or any situation in which they might have been violated or put in danger. It’s important that they take a survivor mentality and not a victim mentality and stand for their rights as well as report violators.
Please know that the safety and well-being of our students is of utmost importance. We will continue to keep you apprised.