LBC food theft spikes

TUPD and Student Conduct intervene

By Stacey Neve | Section: Jan 29th, 2010 Featured Articles, Issues, January 29th 2010 Print, News

A recent increase in theft from the Lavin-Bernick Center food court has prompted the involvement of the Tulane University Police Department and the Student Conduct Board.

In the past, when LBC food court staff caught students stealing, they would take down names, but there was no follow-up, Director of Student Conduct Kristen Kawczynski said.

“Unfortunately, they noticed an increase in the number of students [stealing] and felt that another solution was appropriate,” Kawczynski said.

As a result, food court staff members now call TUPD to issue citations when they find students stealing from the food court.

When TUPD issues a citation for this type of incident, Kawczynski reviews it, and if there is enough information, charges the student with theft. The student then faces either a Student Conduct Board hearing or an administrative hearing.

“The violation of theft is not new to this year,” said Blandon David, Student Conduct Board executive officer. “Theft incident reports have always been dealt with. However, in my three years on student conduct board, I had never encountered an actual theft incident report to come before the Student Conduct Body until this year.”

Joint Hearing Boards generally hear theft cases regarding larger items, but at the end of fall semester, Student Conduct Board started receiving more cases involving theft of food and other less expensive items.

“The volume of theft cases we’re seeing is ridiculous, and I think if other students could see it, they would see how disturbing it is,” said Elizabeth Berra, Student Conduct Board executive officer.

Kawczynski has asked Student Conduct Board to issue a minimum sanction of one semester of disciplinary probation.

“During your disciplinary probation period you cannot join a fraternity or sorority, hold office in any student organization [or] study abroad, and other restrictions may apply depending on the circumstances,” Kawczynski said.

“The Office of Student Conduct wants to send a clear message that they are taking this seriously and that the student actions may lead to the prices at the LBC increasing, which would have an effect on everyone,” David said.

David also said Student Conduct Board can give additional sanctions, such as community service, if they feel it is warranted.

“I think it is a fair sanction and an easy policy to abide by,” David said. “Thou shall not steal — very simple.”

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  1. I think a big part of this problem is that most students don’t live in the real world. Studying at University is for adults, who should be responsible for their actions. If someone stole from a convenience store and was caught, he or she would have to deal with NOPD. Why is a store on-campus different? The punishments that the school gives out are akin to those from high school and are insignificant at deterring these minor crimes.

    Treat adults like adults and they will act like adults.

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