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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Student admits to exposing himself inside Chapel

Published: October 1, 2010
Section: News

A Brandeis student notified Public Safety last Friday that he was responsible for exposing himself twice inside the Harlan Chapel. The Office of the Dean of Student Life is now responsible for handling the perpetrator, Ed Callahan, director of public safety said.

“A student came into our office and was remorseful for the incident[s],” Callahan said.

Witnesses had seen a naked man standing inside an empty Harlan Chapel on Aug. 26 and Sept. 20.

The student who turned himself in matched the description of the suspect, provided to public safety after each incident, of a “black male in his 20s with close-cropped hair.”

In response to the incidents, the university added uniformed and plain-clothes patrol officers and activated electronic key card access to all three on-campus chapels.

Public Safety has since removed some of the patrols and Callahan said it was “reasonable” to believe that the student who turned himself in was the individual who exposed himself inside the chapel.

The Office of the Dean of Student Life is handling the response to the incident, however, Callahan said that Public Safety could decide to press criminal charges through the Waltham Police Department. Callahan said that the university has advised and briefed Waltham Police throughout the different updates on the incident.

Rick Sawyer, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life, would not elaborate on the details his office’s response, citing privacy restrictions.

“Matters between Brandeis and individual students are subject to specific laws respecting privacy, and our own sense of student rights in this community regarding possible disciplinary actions and/or matters of one’s health,” Sawyer wrote in a statement.

Any actions the Office of the Dean of Student Life takes will remain confidential, Callahan said.

Because the incident took place within the Brandeis community, Waltham Police did not have a large role in the investigation. But Callahan said that “if [an incident] spills over into the Waltham community, it’s a joint investigation.”

Callahan explained that the university must remain sensitive to the seriousness of the incident, as well as how best to proceed, considering that it was a community member who committed the act. He added that the university decided to send out two campus-wide e-mails about the incidents directly after they occurred to keep community members informed.

“Every situation is serious. That’s why we sent out the alert,” Callahan said.