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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

No court arraignment two months following hit and run

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: News

The Brandeis student facing criminal charges following the hit and run two months ago that hospitalized two people – one of them critically – has still not been arraigned in court, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office said yesterday.

Because no arraignment has been scheduled, the office has no record of the name of the student charged, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Gerard T. Leone said.

An assistant at the Waltham District Court Clerk’s Office said that they had still not received results and a report from the Waltham Police Department, and because of this, had no information about the case.

Today concludes the third consecutive week of interviews and repeated requests for the incident report or conformation of the individual’s name on a public record. All attempts to date to obtain a comment or documentation of the incident have been unsuccessful.

Waltham Police charged a Brandeis student on Dec. 8, 2010 with leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, negligent driving, failure to slow for pedestrians and speeding. These charges followed a car accident on Loop Road on Dec. 3 that sent two female students to local hospitals—Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The two students are no longer being treated at the hospitals.

Waltham Police issued a citation for the charges against a 19-year-old Boylston resident, but declined to release the name or the police report because the individual was only charged and has not been arrested, Sgt. Timothy King said in a phone interview last week.

Dean Gendron, Director of Student Rights and Community Standards, said the he and other staff were unable to comment on the specifics of any cases, but he explained a careful process that the university follows after issues of student misconduct.

During most semesters, a student is named in a criminal complaint, Gendron said in an interview on Wednesday.

When presented with the hypothetical scenario of a student facing criminal charges following a car accident that injured others, Gendron said that the university’s immediate action would go through Rick Sawyer, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life, and the Dean’s Office.

In order for Student Rights and Community Standards to address the incident and enact a policy under Section 21 of the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook, including options ranging from removal from campus housing to dismissal or expulsion. In order for this to occur an administrator or member of the university police would have to refer the case, Gendron said.

But if there is no immediate referral, Sawyer and his office, under Section 22, still have the jurisdiction to enact one of the more urgent and temporary policies, including emergency and indefinite suspension.

Section 22.3 outlines the procedures for responding to criminal charges: “In the event the Dean of Student Life learns that a Brandeis student has been charged with or convicted of a crime, the Dean or the Dean’s designee may immediately remove the student from campus housing, restrict the student’s access to the campus, and/or indefinitely suspend the student from the University pending the final outcome of a criminal proceeding.”

“Section 22 is used extremely sparingly,” Gendron said. “It might be inappropriate to allow certain members of a fact pattern to go unchecked” following criminal charges after an incident.