Written By: Angela Wolfe, Metro Editor-in-Chief
Further research conducted by the Voice staff of registered sex offenders attending Cuyahoga Community College found an alarming number of registered sex offenders who have failed to report Tri-C as their school. This is a direct violation of the student code of conduct’s general provisions, according to the college. It’s also an infraction of the terms required by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department. That provision, according to sections four and five of the clearly worded, “Explanations of Duties to Register” which all offenders are mandated to sign upon determining their classification tier.
Our due diligence consisted of six staff members, six laptops, and a list of all 30,000-plus currently enrolled students of Tri-C. In a conference room for 6 hours, and only breaking for the restroom, we ran every name against the Cuyahoga County Sheriffs Department Sex Offender Registry-including yours – if you’re currently registered as a student of course. This preliminary discovery unearthed a number of students who could be here by intentional misrepresentation. While the exact amount is still awaiting verification, the compiled list totaled 142 possible unreported students. This is a far cry from the 15 reported Tri-C students listed on the Sheriffs registry.
Now, please be advised, this investigation only focused on Cuyahoga County, which means, that the area of possibility that even more sex offenders are roaming around under false pretenses is extremely great.
It is also important for me to point out that the blame does not fully fall on Tri-C; the national, state, and local government also shoulders the responsibility to efficiently and effectively track sex offenders. Our investigation proves that there is a need for a universal database of all registered sex offenders-not county by county. It serves no purpose if people can so easily fly under the radar that is designed to catch them. The fact that a fair portion of Tri-C students live outside of Cuyahoga County, along with our diverse body of college student who come from all over the United States, and foreign countries for that matter, demonstrates why it is imperative for Tri-C to establish a workable policy to protect all students.
This policy is expected to be formed by the beginning of the Fall 2015 Semester. In response to a previous Voice story, “Sex Offenders Mingling with Minors, published in issue 8, volume 17, David Hoovler, Vice President, Integrated Communications, offered this statement:
“Because Cuyahoga Community College takes seriously sexual misconduct in any form, officials are in the midst of strengthening existing policies by developing admission standards for registered sex offenders for implementation Fall 2015. This effort will include more extensive programming being developed in concert with the Student Life and Public Safety departments to educate students and employees about sexual harassment and sexually related crimes, including steps to help protect themselves and others.”
Even thought this proclamation is a direct contradiction in saying, “strengthening existing policies” when earlier this semester Renee Richard, Vice President of Legal Services, told the Voice in a statement, “We don’t have a specific policy that addresses (tier II, tier III) sexual offenders.” The Voice is encouraged that proper measures are being taken to secure this aspect of the open access policy.
“There should be a question on the enrollment application that asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a sexually motivated crime”, due to high school student being in such close quarters.” Said Isabelle Perez, Student Government Senator.
“The Sex Offenders Mingling With Minors article was enlightening.” Said Business student Quentin Callans. “I have a 17-year-old daughter who was presented with the opportunity to attend Tri-C while in high school. I would want to know whom she is around and being influenced by. I suggest posting this information to My Tri-C Space.”
To view a letter to the Editor submitted by a registered tier III sex offender who attends Tri-C, look below. The letter is in response to the Voice Editorial: Sex Offenders Mingling With Minors, published in the March 23rd edition.