NEW BRUNSWICK - Officials at Rutgers University say they are expanding the school's crime notification system after a series of high profile crimes involving students put the campus on edge.
A letter, sent to students from the vice president of Academic Affairs, promises to keep them better informed about crimes that occur off the New Brunswick campus
Nearly 3,000 students signed an online petition for such a change after the murder of former Rutgers student William McCaw in February.
Under federal law, Rutgers had no obligation to tell students about it, and the university stayed silent. Now Rutgers has agreed to report any crimes in the greater campus area that involve students.
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Nick Benedetto lives off campus and welcomes the news. "I was relieved to see that they brought up Billy McCaw in the letter itself," he says. "But I think this is really just the first step in an action plan that needs to take place."
The new system was put into action Thursday when an email notified students of a home invasion and assault on Louis Street. Three men targeted students, one of which was pistol whipped.
Earlier this week a female student reported that she was assaulted on George Street walking back from a party.
All of these have created unease on campus, but Benedetto says it was the murder that prompted students to make changes. "No one's really walking around by themselves anymore," he says.
The Clery Act is the federal law that governs what universities must do when notifying students about violent crimes. In its letter, Rutgers said sometimes just following the law isn't enough.