York College President issues memo following medical incident on campus

York College 2

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith has issued a memo following this past weekend’s medical call at Spring Garden Apartments.

President Gunter-Smith begins the memo by writing that she is deeply concerned for the student’s recovery and privacy. Gunter-Smith also writes that “my thoughts and prayers are with the student and the student’s family during this difficult time.”

The president then addressed speculation and misinformation regarding the incident.

She writes, “Our Campus Safety Office has worked alongside Spring Garden Township Police to investigate this incident. The information I have received from both departments at this time indicates there is no evidence of any criminal activity, specifically of an assault on this student. Because this is an ongoing investigation, it is important that we, as a community, allow law enforcement professionals to conduct their work. Speculation on the circumstances surrounding the events that led to the accident might hinder that investigation.”

President Gunter-Smith adds that the idea of a cover up by the college about the nature of the incident is “nothing further from the truth.”

“Our goal is to discern what happened and to support the work of law enforcement professionals as they conduct their investigations”, she continues to write.

The president then reaffirms why a “Timely Warning Notice” was not issued in this case.

“Timely Warning Notices are intended to notify members of the community about serious reported crimes against people that occur on campus, or in certain circumstances off campus, where it is determined that the incident may pose a current and ongoing threat to members of the College community. Information received at the time did not indicate a current and ongoing threat, and therefore, the incident did not fit the requirements for such a notification.”

She closed out the memo by reassuring all that the safety of the students is York College’s first priority:

Since becoming president in 2013, I have continued to focus on safety measures through initiatives such as these:

  • In 2015, an independent evaluation of lighting and other safety measures was conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police. The evaluation indicated that our measures were good but suggested several opportunities for improvement, which were made. 
  • More than 100 cameras are located in strategic areas throughout campus; this system was recently upgraded.
  • Security personnel are positioned at various campus entrances. During evening hours, those entering must have appropriate College identification.
  • Campus Safety officers routinely patrol the campus and surrounding areas in cars, on bicycles, and on foot. Escorts are available for students.
  • In addition to emergency blue light boxes located throughout campus, the College has made available to our community the free LiveSafe mobile app, which may be used to share information with Campus Safety, receive alerts and notifications, request an escort, and utilize a location-tracking system that allows for a “virtual” escort.

Other measures taken to educate students about safety include programs on crime prevention, the mandatory Orientation safety session for new students, Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) system, Operation ID, bystander intervention training, and drug and alcohol awareness events. Through such offerings, we ask students to play an active role in ensuring their own well-being.

Through collaboration and partnerships with neighbors, landlords, elected officials, the City of York and Spring Garden Township, we also continue to work on improving safety in the neighborhoods around our campus. In 2013, we improved the streetscape and lighting on West Jackson Street, an area where a number of our students reside. In cooperation with York City, we fund a York City Police substation on West Jackson Street as well.

We are currently working with residents and local officials to improve lighting along the streets where students travel between West and Main campuses, and we have instituted walking security patrols along Dupont Avenue.