UWI: Suspect charged; police post not under our control
I refer to a letter in The Gleaner of Thursday, February 9, 2017, 'Thoughtless security', alleging unprofessional conduct by the campus police in dealing with security issues faced by a student at The University of the West Indies, (UWI) Mona Campus.
The UWI, Mona deeply regrets the incident involving the female student and reiterates its policy that sexual harassment is expressly forbidden and will not be tolerated on the campus. In the instant case, the suspect has been arrested and charged with indecent assault. The victim has also been given counselling by the University Health Centre.
I should, however, like to clarify a misperception that is perpetuated in the letter. The student's interaction in the matter was with the Mona Police Post, and not with the campus police. The Mona Police Post is operated by the Jamaica Constabulary Force and does not fall under the jurisdiction of the university. Although the two units work closely together in addressing security issues, the campus police are a separate entity, which operate under the supervision of the campus' director of security. Efforts have been initiated to address the level of professionalism at the Mona Police Post.
At the same time, The UWI, Mona takes this opportunity to remind members of the university community that it provides banking, medical, legal and social services to members of the wider community. As a consequence, persons who are not part of the UWI community have access to food franchises.
Regrettably, in the case in question, the offence was carried out by someone who was not a member of our community. In light of this, we are using this medium to urge bona fide users of our facilities to be very vigilant and to take special precautions to protect themselves.
While the university is aware of incidents of crime against females and children in the wider society, which have fuelled much fear and concerns by citizens, The UWI, Mona Campus wishes to assure students, staff and visitors that the university is among the safest institutions in Jamaica and every effort is being made to maintain this standard.
Finally, the campus wishes to assure its stakeholders and the public at large of the existence of security measures, including student escort services, on a round-the-clock basis. The campus has also introduced an integrated security system that relies heavily on a state-of-the-art electronic surveillance system.
CARROLL EDWARDS (PhD)
Director, Marketing, Recruitment & Communications