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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo

Residence Life comments on 2022 'Right-To-Know' report

Emphasizes treating students as individuals

The 2022 Right-To-Know report was released as a 30-page document detailing the security and fire safety reports of Taylor University in recent years. In the document, a chart explains numerous drug and alcohol offenses. 

Crime statistics from the 2020-2022 school years are outlined, showing an increase in crime during the 2021- 2022 school year. Jeff Wallace, chief of police at Taylor, does not believe there has necessarily been an increase in criminal behavior from students.

“There may be a jump in numbers for, let’s say, alcohol-related offenses, but it was one event where there had been a bunch of people, versus a bunch of singular events,” Wallace said. “And that report doesn’t really reflect that.”

Because of how the statistics are represented, it is difficult for students to really know what is happening on campus, Wallace said. 

In terms of discipline, Skip Trudeau, vice president for Student Development, acknowledged that there is not one solution to fit every infraction or to fit every student. Trudeau and Wallace work with students to create a suitable conduct plan in regard to what the student needs. 

Students who have broken laws, or smaller offenses outlined in the Life Together Covenant (LTC) or student handbook, meet with Trudeau, Wallace and Julia Hurlow, the associate vice president for Student Development and the director of residence life. Out of that meeting comes a resolution where growth and change are fostered in students.

“We try to work very hard to treat each individual student (as individuals),” Trudeau said. “In our handbook, you can see the range of sanctions for student conduct issues, all the way from warning up to expulsion, so we like to go more towards warning.”

All Taylor students agreed to sign the LTC. This makes students promise to live in community with one another, outlining the values all students should practice, like regularly attending chapel services and not using drugs or alcohol. 

The LTC, along with the student handbook, outlines specifics of what is and is not allowed on campus, leaving little to no gray area for students. 

“(Conduct) can go from citizenship probation, which would be the lowest (conduct enforcement), up to disciplinary probation, which is the highest of the levels of probation,” Wallace said. “The next step might be up to and including dismissal.”

The Taylor student handbook states that students are to refrain from the use of alcoholic beverages and illicit drugs. Students violating this policy will be subject to the University disciplinary procedures up to and including dismissal and referral for prosecution.

Wallace said the Taylor police department is in a unique position, as it is employed by both the state of Indiana and Taylor University. 

“Anybody can write a ticket, anybody can get a ticket and go to court, get fines, don't do it again,” Wallace said. “But where is the, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’I think they feel very fortunate and very blessed by (the follow-up) and the relationship we have.”

If students see something they know is against Taylor policy, they can report it to any Taylor employee. All employees on the Taylor payroll are mandated reporters to the appropriate offices. 

In addition, students can be provided amnesty when reporting a crime if they are fearful of also facing consequences. 

Wallace said that as a police department, officers are always here to support, care for and keep Taylor students safe. That means students can reach out to them at any time they want. Wallace and his team want to come alongside students when needed and hope to be there when students don’t know where to go. 

“I think most students know that they can come in here at any time and talk to one of our officers and we're happy to sit down with them and spend some time and when things get hard,” Wallace said. “That doesn't make you a bad person. It just makes that life –- It's hard sometimes –- and we understand that.”