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Amid criticism, Rutgers expands its security alert policy

Weeks after a former student was beaten to death in the backyard of Rutgers University students, university administrators announced that they would start notifying students of crimes committed off campus.

Rutgers was sharply criticized for not alerting students when 22-year-old William McCaw was found dead near campus, even while city police searched for the man’s killer in the neighborhoods near campus, the Star-Ledger reported.

“The federal Clery Act requires all colleges and university to notify students and other of crimes that occur on campuses or on properties immediately adjacent to them,” Rutgers Presidents Robert Barchi told the Star-Ledger. “Our new policy recognizes that adhering to the federal law simply doesn’t in all instances meet the needs of our community.”

Specifically, the notifications will be sent to those living in New Brunswick’s 5th and 6th wards, where many students live. Also, notifications will now be sent out when there are serious incidents involving students, faculty and staff in other areas of the city.

Signed in 1990, the Clery Act was named after Jeanne Clery, a freshman who was raped and murdered in her Lehigh University dorm in 1986. Advocates have since argued that the law does not go far enough and should be strengthened.

McCaw was a Tennessee native who has recently transferred to Kean University in Union Township. His death prompted an online petition urging Rutgers to change its alert system.


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