For immediate release
September 3, 2013
OBERLIN, OH—Representatives of Oberlin College have been working with community members in recent months to revise the college’s trespass policy and procedures. Significant changes have been made, including the formation of a Community Advisory Board.
The Community Advisory Board will include representatives from both college and town. The board will oversee collaborative efforts related to ongoing review of the trespass policy, youth advancement, public safety, and community relations.
The college will invite community members to join the Community Advisory Board based on nominations solicited from community organizations like One Town, local churches and schools, local nonprofits like Zion CDC and Oberlin Community Services, and town entities like the Human Relations Commission and City Council.
“We have approached this work with a desire to create more effective policy and procedures that balance the need for safety with greater transparency and community involvement,” said Dean of Students Eric Estes.
The college has also made key changes to the trespass policy and procedures to provide a range of options that will offer individuals, especially youth under the age of 18, opportunities to make choices that will help them avoid being issued a trespass order. These changes include:
creating a written warning process to provide a clear opportunity for individuals to avoid being issued a trespass order;
providing a list of properties owned by the college, which are included in trespass orders;
sending a copy of the new policy to all people who have current trespass orders;
providing more detailed information, in writing, about the basis for their trespass orders when issued;
creating a one-year trespass order that will enable permanent trespass orders to be reserved for the most serious offenses, such as threats and acts of violence and sexualized violence, including stalking and harassment;
creating an appeals process to modify or rescind trespass orders that does not require the Office of Safety and Security to be the entry point;
establishing a clear process and criteria for appeals that addresses potential conflicts of interest;
creating an automatic review of permanent trespass orders by the appeals group;
providing parents and guardians of youth under the age of 18 who receive warnings and trespass orders the opportunity to meet with members of the appeals group; and
initiating a timely review of current trespass orders to grant amnesty to those who do not pose an ongoing threat and would likely have received a warning or a one-year trespass order under the new policy.
The revised policy is available on the Office of Safety and Security website, and can also be accessed from the Office of Community and Government Relations website. Printed copies can be obtained at the Oberlin Public Library.
The college will continue to work with local organizations on resource alternatives to support local youth and with the Oberlin Police Department on how we share information in order to protect privacy, with the goal of avoiding the public disclosure of trespass orders in the future. Individuals are, of course, able to submit an appeal in the interim. The college also will continue working with the Office of Safety and Security on ongoing professional development opportunities, especially those related to the implementation of the revised policy.
“We look forward to continuing the discussion and work related to the policy through the Community Advisory Board moving forward,” said Tita Reed, assistant to the president for community and government relations. “Our hope is to have this group in place as soon as possible.”
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