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The Daily Wildcat

 

Sex offender enrollment, a UAPD officer and UA official talk protocol

The+Administration+building+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+5.+Enrollment+processes+may+differ+from+%0Aaverage+students+if+one+enrolling+is+a+sex+offender.
Justice Amarillas
The Administration building on Friday, Feb. 5. Enrollment processes may differ from average students if one enrolling is a sex offender.

Sex offenders are able to enroll to the UA, but, depending on the seriousness of their offense, they may have to notify the university of their status. Whether the sex offender is required to notify the university is based on which level of risk the person is classified under.

These levels are based on the likelihood that an offender will re-offend, with level one being the lowest risk, and level three being the highest risk, according to the Campus Sex Offender Information page on the University of Arizona Police Department’s website.

Levels can be determined by the agency that has the offender in its custody. The levels are based on the seriousness of the crime, such as how violent the crime was or how old the victim was, according to Officer George Eppley of the UAPD Crime Prevention Unit.

Eppley said that all levels of offenders can enroll at the university, but level-one offenders do not have to notify the university community that they are enrolled.

“Whatever the claim was, it wasn’t severe enough by the court’s definition when they were sentenced, so they’re not required to notify us,” Eppley said.

However, Eppley said level-two and level-three offenders do have to notify the university if they attend school “in any way, shape, or form,” including those who live off campus.

“We do have people that come here that, based on the level, are required to report, and, if they do, it’s more of an FYI just so that we know that they’re going to the university,” Eppley said.

These notifications go to the Office of General Council, the Dean of Students Office and Residence Life if the offender lives in a residence hall, Eppley said. If the offender is a student-athlete, Arizona Athletics is notified, as well as the department head of the UA workplace if the person is an employee.

“The UAPD notifications provide details about the nature of the criminal behavior leading to the need to register, so when UAPD notifies the Dean of Students Office, we assess the impact on the campus community, including living arrangements, degree program, on-campus employment, etc.,” said Kendal Washington White, dean of students and assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

For level-three offenders, UAPD issues a media release to the surrounding community about the offender.

There are currently no sex offenderslisted as employed or enrolled at the university, according to the Campus Sex Offender Information page. White said that it is “very infrequent” that sex offenders enroll at the UA.

When it comes to the question of the impression of safety at the UA, Eppley said that he doesn’t know if it would change anybody’s feelings of safety.

“Many times these people come and go from school and are anonymous. You could be in class sitting next to somebody who’s registered and may not even know that,” he said. “As long as they don’t violate any laws, they will probably come and go and graduate without anyone knowing about this.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean there haven’t been concerns in the past. Last semester, a faculty member was concerned that there was a sex offender in one of his or her classes, according to Eppley.

“We reassured them that the person was following the rules and that if any issue should come up because of that, both were told that they could report that — the student, the offender, as well as a faculty member,” Eppley said.

If a sex offender breaks parole, they could go to prison and be expelled from the UA, Eppley said. A violation of parole includes not reporting residence, which is a requirement for all sex offenders, regardless of the level of risk.

“Granted, they have limited rights, as long as they follow the rules, they can come and go at school,” Eppley said. “They can lead normal lives other than that their neighborhood area, where they live, knows that they live there.”


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