A day after a chaotic shoot-out took place one block from Old Campus, Yale officials have not notified the community about the violence and do not plan to.
All universities that participate in federal financial aid programs are required to disclose information about crimes that occur near their campuses. Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner, who oversees Yale security, said the University is not obligated to report Sunday morning’s incident because it did not occur on University property or involve University affiliates. But students interviewed, upon hearing of the gunfight, said they were alarmed by the incident and by the University’s silence.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, passed in 1990, requires colleges and universities to inform students of any crime that occurs in “any building or property owned or controlled by an institution of higher education within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area of the institution and used by the institution in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the institution’s educational purposes, including residence halls.” The gunfight occurred one block from Bingham Hall on Old Campus.
Lindner said Yale officials looked into the shooting and decided that it did not merit a campus-wide alert. Before sending such a message to the community, she said, administrators consider whether there is an imminent threat to the Yale community, whether the incident directly affects Yale community members and whether the incident took place on campus property.
“It was judged that the factors in this incident do not warrant an alert,” she said.
For incidents that do, the University may either send a campus-wide e-mail (a familiar “Message from Assistant Chief Ronnell Higgins”) or activate the Yale ALERT emergency notification system, which sends the entire community a text message, automated phone call and e-mail.
Sunday’s shooting involved three gunmen, one of whom opened fire on police officers and is still at large. The gunmen shot as many as 30 bullets on both sides of College Street, just as hundreds of bar patrons, some of whom may have been Yale students, streamed onto the street.
Of 17 Old Campus residents interviewed Sunday evening, only one knew the shoot-out had occurred, and she, Rachael Ett ’13, said she heard about it from an acquaintance who works for the News.
Pierson freshman counselor Cecilia Wright ’11 said the administration should do a better job of communicating information to freshmen counselors about safety concerns that could affect the class of 2014.
“It seems like violence is getting closer and closer to Old Campus,” Wright said.
Ten of 11 freshmen interviewed Sunday night said it was disconcerting that the administration decided not to notify them of the incident, even if it did not take place on University property and no Yale community member was directly involved.
“I think it would definitely be useful if [the chief of Yale police] still sent out e mails so that we know what’s happening around campus and we don’t feel like we’re being hidden from the truth,” said Leon Zhang ’14, who lives in Bingham Hall. “I think [the policy] should be expanded to the Yale bubble as opposed to only properties owned by Yale.”
Gene Kim ’13 said he would have liked to know about the shooting because he would have been more aware of the area around Old Campus, even though the shooters were not targeting Yale students.
“It’d be nice to be aware of my surroundings,” he said. “To be not totally ignorant.”
Trumbull freshman counselor Mo Lecaro ’11 said that though she does not feel a need to gather her freshmen and tell them of the shooting, the University as an institution has a duty to notify its students.