Olens: University was not required to inform campus of violent student

Olens: University was not required to inform campus of violent student

Kennesaw State President Sam Olens told students at an Oct. 31 event that the university did not notify the campus community about a student who made death threats against his classmates because the incident did not meet the requirements of the Clery Act.

Samuel Friedman, a freshman chemistry major, was arrested on Oct. 26 after attacking another student, sexually harassing a female student and threatening to murder all of his classmates in his math class two days prior. He is reported to have told the class, “I am going to marinate on the thought of killing you all.”

After the incident gained media attention, students expressed concern that they did not receive any notification of it in the two days between Friedman’s disruption and his arrest.

Some said they saw the decision as a violation of the Clery Act, a federal piece of legislation requiring colleges and universities to provide students with timely warnings of events that pose a serious or continuing threat to the safety or security of the campus. Four categories of crime are considered “Clery Act Crimes”:

  • Criminal Offenses: criminal homicide, including murder and manslaughter, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson.
  • Hate Crimes: any of the above criminal offenses and any incidents of larceny-theft, simple assault, intimidation or vandalism of property that were motivated by bias.
  • Violence Against Women Act Offenses: any incidents of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
  • Arrests and Referrals for Disciplinary Action: weapons, drug abuse or liquor law violations.

The act stipulates that the decision of whether or not to inform students of a crime is decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the crime, the threat of further danger to the campus community and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.

“The Clery Act did not require a notice, according to Public Safety,” Olens said. “Some of the facts that have been made in the newspaper article[s] may not have 100 percent clarity.”

Olens further said federal privacy laws protecting students precluded the university from releasing information about Friedman’s offenses.

“There’s facts I know about that case that aren’t public and that I can’t make public at this time,” he said.

Friedman was arrested at his Roswell home and charged with multiple misdemeanors. He bailed out of jail the following day. As part of his $15,000 bond agreement, he is barred from KSU’s campuses.

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