Disorderly conduct and harassment tie in residence hall crime

Student Writer Samantha Thompson

With 16 incidences in the UNA police crime logs, harassment and disorderly conduct tied for the third most common crimes in the residence halls last year, behind theft and marijuana.

“Disorderly conduct doesn’t always involve another person,” said Kimberly Greenway, director of Student Conduct and Student Affairs Assessment. “Whereas harassment really has more to do with an environment or an action against someone.”

Harassment includes abusive language, obscene gestures, shoving, striking or subjecting a person to physical contact and verbal or nonverbal threats.

Harassing communications also falls under harassment and can include communicating with a person via telephone, mail or any form of written or electronic correspondence that causes alarm within the recipient.

A person commits disorderly conduct if they disturb the public by fighting, making unreasonable noise, using abusive language or obscene gestures in a public place or obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

However, this year’s freshman residential hall advisors are making sure students are aware of what disorderly conduct and harassment are and what the consequence for these offenses is, said Olive Hall resident and freshman Alexa Cortes.

If a student witnesses these offenses, they can either call the UNA dispatch or 911 for an emergency. The officers will then file a report and put the dispute under investigation, said Chief of University Police Kevin Gillian in an email..

“A person committing either of these offenses is subject to immediate arrest and prosecution through the court system,” he said. “Aside from the actions of UNA (Police Department), the student may be also referred to Student Conduct for violation of the disciplinary policies.”

There is no difference in how UNA police handles these cases versus police off campus, he said.

UNA police will make the arrest, and then the case will be presented in court, Gillilan said. A repeat offender may also be subject to harsher sanctions including high fines, probation or jail sentencing.

The only difference is the student may also go before the student conduct board which may hold them responsible for violating university policies. Here the student can also be subject to suspension or dismissal, he said.

Although freshman Karina Meza said she has not seen a problem with disorderly conduct or harassment in the residence halls, she has heard of people you have.

“UNA has programs that help people who are in those situations for the victim and harasser,” Meza said. “It is just a matter of asking for help.”

Seniors Shaquielle Shoulders and Andrew Corder said they have never witnessed disorderly conduct or harassment of any kind.

The office of student conduct has numerous ways of dealing with these offenses including no-contact orders, said Greenway.

“Reporting can be confidential if requested, and Title IX reporting is always confidential,” Gillilan said.