Two Public Safety (PSafe) officers were terminated after allegedly watching and recording a female student in her residence, according to an email to the University community sent on Tuesday, April 30, Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley and Vice President for Institutional Partnerships and Chief Diversity Officer Sonia Mañjon.
“The violation of a student’s private life by those charged with protecting our students is an intolerable breach of trust,” Whaley and Mañjon wrote. “Wesleyan immediately terminated both officers and is cooperating with Middletown police in an ongoing investigation. Police and staff from Student Affairs have been in contact with the victim and are offering support.”
Whaley explained that the Middletown Police Department (MPD) informed University administrators of the incident. Whaley stated that the University does not know who reported the incident to the police, nor how many times the alleged voyeurism is reported to have occurred. However, according to a report on WSFB 3 Connecticut, a wife of one of the accused officers found videos of a student on his smartphone and proceeded to report the incident to police.
“The police are coordinating the investigation,” Whaley said. “They’ve been involved from the beginning of it.”
According to Manager of Public Relations and Media Katherine Carlisle, administrators do not know when the incident is alleged to have occurred. Whaley reported that, based on MPD reports, administrators believe that there is only one victim.
“We’ve been in touch with that person and have been providing support for that person,” Whaley said. “The [victim’s] class dean has been really connecting with them, following up and so forth. Whenever something potentially traumatic happens to someone on campus, we obviously try to connect them with CAPS as well. … We’ll keep in touch with the student, and whatever the student feels like they need, we’ll see how we can respond to that as the situation unfolds.”
Whaley explained that the University dealt with the two officers promptly after hearing from the MPD.
“We don’t have any information that there were others involved, but the people who were involved are no longer employed by Wesleyan,” Whaley said.
Although Whaley stated that the officers were terminated prior to Tuesday, when the community was informed of the alleged incident, he would not specify when they were terminated. Director of Public Safety David Meyer refused to comment on the incident.
Mañjon explained that since the Diversity University panel in the fall, when many students voiced concerns over relations between PSafe officers and students, the University has increased efforts to raise awareness about diversity among faculty and staff.
“One thing that we’re doing which we have been doing [prior to the incident] is offering sexual harassment prevention and diversity training to all employees,” Mañjon stated.
She explained that newly hired faculty members are trained within their first 90 days of employment with the University. Whaley added that all staff members undergo background checks before being hired.
“We are all distressed by this shocking incident,” Whaley and Mañjon wrote.