Incident report details issues of safety, discipline

Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education requires the Mercyhurst College Department of Police and Safety to release a report detailing student incidents on campus.

This report, titled the 2010 Annual Clery Report and Fire Disclosure Report, begins with the details of the Mercyhurst campus and the Department of Police and Safety and continues with a chart of incident numbers from 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The report was emailed to students and faculty Saturday, Oct. 1.

Chief of Police Robert Kuhn said, “I think it’s a good idea. Parents want to know if it’s a safe campus, and this report does that.”

The report listed the number of incidents categorized as homicide, sex offense, robbery, assault, arson, drugs, alcohol and vandalism among others.

The only numbers that had an increase from 2008 and 2009 were liquor law violations, which were referred to Residence Life. There were 234 violations in 2008, 213 in 2009 and 385 in 2010.

Kuhn said this is because Police and Safety automatically refer students to Residence Life for discipline instead of to the Erie Police.

“Since I took over last year, we don’t arrest students who have trouble with liquor law violations. We refer them to Residence Life unless the students assault one of our officers,” said Kuhn. “I hate to see kids in teaching get in trouble—and there are a few other majors where this is important—because they’d be done in Pennsylvania with that on their record. It would affect them badly.

“Res Life does a good job. They are harder on kids than a citation would be. Kids can just pay a citation and be done with it, but with Res Life they have to stand up and suffer the consequences,” he said.

Regarding the decrease in the other numbers from 2008 and 2009, Kuhn said, “We had a good freshman class, and everybody else seemed to be behaving themselves. I also send out emails to students basically saying don’t do anything to embarrass your parents or yourself.”

Kuhn also stressed that safety is his number one priority, and that students who feel unsafe should always call Police and Safety, no matter the situation.

Some instances of the decrease in numbers can be seen in several different categories. For example, the number of burglaries was 21 in 2008, 16 in 2009 and seven in 2010. The number of forcible sex offenses was three in 2008, two in 2009 and one in 2010. The number of arrests made from liquor law violations was eight in 2008, 11 in 2009 and five in 2010.

“We’re making gains,” said Kuhn. “We continue to march—we haven’t seen anything that needs tweaking so far.”

To see a copy of the report, go here.