Universities throughout the country have been battling against students who claim the rights to access university police logs. At Faifield, such students face less hurdles than those at other colleges.

Student journalists at Harvard University are currently in the process of a lawsuit against their own Harvard University Police Department. The students were denied access to campus police records, which they felt violated Massachusetts open-record law.

According to Frank Ficko, associate director of the Fairfield University Security Department, not only are Harvard police officers in possible violation of the state law, but they also may be violating a newly amended law commonly known as the Jeanne Cleary Act.

The Cleary Act, or Campus Security Act, was established in memory of a female student from Lehigh University who was raped and murdered in a residence hall. This law requires all institutions of higher learning to provide a campus crime log of all crimes reported.

Although only the parties directly involved can view Fairfield security’s complete report, any student, faculty or staff member, or even a person not affiliated with the university has complete access to Fairfield University’s public log.

The public log complies with the Cleary Act and gives the date, time, location, nature, and disposition of the reported incident.

“It kind of sucks that we can’t find out names, but I would be happy they didn’t release names if I was involved in a problem”, said Christine Shanley ’06. “At least they give you something though.”

Also required every year by law, security produces a campus crime statistics report. This report will be available to all students in a booklet form by Oct. 1 and is currently available online.

Harvard University’s police officers and Fairfield University’s security department differ in that Harvard police officers are sworn in as special state police officers and have the power to arrest all across the state of Massachusetts. Fairfield’s security members are considered “supplemental first reports” for the town of Fairfield, yet are privately employed by Fairfield University, according to Ficko. Fairfield security, however, is permitted to carry handguns and tickets for speeding.

The fight between students and university security policies has been going on since college institutions opened. In the 1980s, Boston University students were arrested after they refused to leave an area police station without viewing their campus crime record. Students at Boston College and the University of Richmond in Virginia have had similar incidents to that of Harvard University and Boston University.

“I think it’s good that Fairfield gives us access to the campus crime log,” said Jaclyn Drake, 06. “We live here, and we should be able to at least know what’s going on if we wanted to.”

Ficko said that a few students each year come in to view the log, but also stated that the log can prove useful to perspective students and their parents. These records can be viewed in the office of security in the basement of Loyola Hall any time during normal business hours.

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