EDITORIAL: MUPD’s lack of transparency endangers students

MUPD+sent+a+safety+alert+March+14+notifying+students+about+an+individual+on+campus+who+is+striking+and+threatening+women.+Marquette+Wire+stock+photo.+

MUPD sent a safety alert March 14 notifying students about an individual on campus who is striking and threatening women. Marquette Wire stock photo.

Marquette University Police Department must dramatically improve its communication with the campus community about situations where an active threat is present, in order to avoid leaving students and families in the dark and putting them in further danger.

MUPD sent an email to students March 14 around noon that MUPD was aware that an individual in the Marquette campus area had been “striking” and “threatening” women. MUPD advised students to be on the lookout and contact them if they had any information. MUPD also assured students that more police officers were being assigned to protect campus and respond to reports of this individual in the area.

The email also said MUPD was working with Milwaukee County Behavioral Health and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office to hold the individual for long-term supervision and treatment.

MUPD sent an update March 15 at around 12:30 p.m. that they had taken the suspect into custody.

MUPD’s safety alert March 14 was the first direct communication with the Marquette community about this individual, though it appears from MUPD’s March 14 safety alert that this individual had engaged in more than one instance of striking and threatening women on campus. This individual was also seen in Mashuda Hall last week when he threw a water bottle at a desk receptionist.

However, it is unclear when these instances occurred and who was involved because MUPD did not alert students of these instances in a safety alert or an email. This individual presented a clear ongoing threat to the Marquette community and not alerting students about these prior situations when they occurred put them in more danger.

Additionally, MUPD did not specify where in the campus area this individual has been.

Sending out a vague safety alert doesn’t keep students safe; it keeps them in the dark and leaves them ill-prepared to be aware and protect themselves.

Parents of Marquette students have a Facebook group and many are expressing serious concerns about their children’s safety and well-being. With little to no communication from MUPD, their only way of knowing what is happening may be through their children. Many parents are far away from their children and without sufficient information, they won’t know what is happening on campus.

Keeping students in the dark this way when there is a threatening individual still in the campus area is irresponsible and wrong. MUPD must work to maintain consistent and clear communication when there is a direct threat to campus. Otherwise, more students are at risk for getting hurt.

MUPD said they would be increasing patrolling until this individual was found. In order to follow through with this commitment to prevent more of these situations from happening on campus and make students’ safety top priority, MUPD shouldn’t only be increasing patrolling when something happens: They should always have a wide patrol on campus to prioritize student safety, making sure to keep campus informed when they are.

 


 

Editorial topics by the Marquette Wire are decided at weekly meetings between members of the executive board. The editorial is crafted with leadership by the executive opinions editor. The executive board consists of the executive director of the Wire, managing editor of the Marquette Tribune, managing editor of the Marquette Journal, general manager of MUTV, general manager of MUR and nine additional top editors across the organization.