2 TU students robbed; campus notification action scrutinized
BY AMANDA BLAND World Staff Writer
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 4:14 AM
Authorities responded to two armed robberies of University of Tulsa students on Thursday, TU officials said, but students and faculty members were not notified until Friday morning.
One student reported that he'd been ordered to the ground at gunpoint by two men near the Norman Village apartments on campus about 6:15 p.m., according to a campus alert emailed Friday morning. The robbers fled south with the student's belongings.
Campus security officers responded, and Tulsa police interviewed the victim.
The second armed robbery was reported just off campus, near 11th Street and Pittsburg Avenue, about the same time. Tulsa police were called to investigate.
Under the federal Jeanne Clery Act, universities are required to issue "timely warnings" of crimes considered to be a threat to students. The Clery Act specifies that "such reports shall be provided to students and employees in a manner that is timely and that will aid in the prevention of similar occurrences."
Text message alerts are sent if there's an immediate threat on campus, TU spokeswoman Mona Chamberlin said.
But before a text message alert could be put together, someone tried to use one of the student's stolen debit cards near 81st Street and Mingo Road. That indicated that the robbers had moved miles away from campus, so no text alert was sent, Chamberlin said.
"As soon as university offices opened Friday morning, administrators were briefed on the incidents and an announcement was immediately e-mailed to all students, faculty and staff," Vice President of Public Relations Kayla Acebo said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The email was sent at 10:23 a.m. Friday.
TU employs 31 armed security officers who are certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. Campus Security is the primary responding agency for campus incidents and emergencies, according to a brochure.
"Any time an incident of this nature occurs on campus, we take it very seriously," Acebo said. "The safety and well-being of our campus family is our primary priority. TU's standard operating procedure is to immediately and thoroughly review the handling of such matters to ensure all proper TU protocols were followed and evaluate the need for modifications or additional measures. This incident will be given proper consideration."
University crime data show that one person was robbed on campus in 2009 and two were robbed in 2010. No on-campus robberies were reported in 2011, and statistics for 2012 are still being compiled, officials said.
Authorities described the two robbers as black men, approximately 6 feet 3 inches tall, wearing dark hooded sweatshirts and baggy jeans. One was wearing a gray hat, and the other's hair was in corn rows.
Anyone with more information about the robberies is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS, online at tulsaworld.com/crimestoppers or via text message at CRIMES. Text tips should begin with "Tip918." Tipsters can be anonymous and could receive a reward.
World Staff Writer Sara Plummer contributed to this story.
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413