Tag Archives: julie newberg

Editorial: “Start by Believing” ASUPD is part of the problem!

ASUPD has been in the media spotlight a great deal recently, and this time, it’s for a good reason; ASUPD, in partnership with university officials, have kicked off a campaign called “Start by Believing” to show support for victims of sexual violence. According to the campaign website, the theory behind the slogan is:

…to bring attention to victims of sexual assault, and not revictimize them through disbelief when they report the crime. Disbelief may come from friends, family, nurses, law enforcement or others whom the victim normally would expect to support them….There are many instances that aren’t reported because of fear of being told that someone brought it on themselves. This type of thinking needs to change. We need to start by believing victims of sexual assault when they come forward. It’s traumatic enough.

The article also mentions the “proclamation” signed by Chief Pickens and Michael Crow (which all department employees received a copy of) that shows how committed ASUPD is to serving victims of sexual violence.

While we think the attention given to the issue of sexual violence on campus is much deserved, we can’t help but be struck by the irony of the situation. The sudden emphasis on sexual violence victims comes on the heels of an article we posted on the safety of students on campus under Title IX, as well as an article about how ASUPD omitted or incorrectly reported the number of sex offenses reported under the Clery Act. Let’s also not forget the rash of sex offenses that occurred during ASU’s “Safe and Sober Campaign”, or the increase in ASU’s sex offense numbers that were actually reported to Clery.

If ASUPD is serious about supporting victims of sexual violence, they could start by appropriately reporting sex offenses in the Clery Report, as they are required to do, by law. Omitting or reclassifying sex crimes into lesser offenses (such as assault) not only revictimizes the victim, it is another way of telling the victim “we don’t really believe you”.

Next, to counter the recent increase in sex offenses, Chief Pickens could actually staff and maintain a fully-functioning police department that has the ability to proactively deter crime, instead of punting ASU’s problems to the City of Tempe. Actively participating in the campaigns you sponsor/are involved in such as “Safe and Sober”, DUI Task Force, or the Student Safety Taskforce would work to both deter crime and show the campus community how committed you are to making ASU a safer place.

Finally, if ASUPD is serious about supporting victims of sexual violence, they can give their officers the appropriate training they need to effectively do their jobs. The academy spends very little time on training officers on how to deal with sexual assault reports, and the little bit of training that is retained fades exponentially with time. Allocating resources to the people who will actually be HANDLING sexual violence cases ensure cases are appropriately handled, and is more cost-effective than dealing with civil lawsuits or wasting tax payer dollars by writing a fancy “proclamation”.

No amount of squishy emails or “proclamations” sent to ASU’s students/faculty/staff can make up for the fact that behind the glossy exterior of ASUPD’s new building, new uniforms, new badges is a top-heavy Command staff completely devoid of compassion and integrity. No amount of campaigns that ASUPD “participates” in can cover up the glaring irony that exists within its “proclamation”.

Chief Pickens, you need to “Start by Believing” ASUPD is part of the problem before you can commit to supporting victims of sexual violence.


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Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, ASU!

When major events involving ASU affiliated students/faculty/staff happen off-campus (especially in the City of Tempe), the media frequently inquires about the university affiliation of individuals involved. When affiliation information of a victim or suspect is known, Tempe PD will release it to the media. This is a relatively common practice which is merely intended to share information, not purposefully cast ASU in a poor light.

Since this past fall, ASU has seen an increase in negative publicity tied to the off-campus actions of its students (with one media outlet dubbing ASU “a hangover school”). In an effort to curtail negative publicity, sources from Tempe PD tell us that ASU has been requesting TPD not release the university affiliation of suspects/victims. TPD already patrols ASU’s campus due to staffing shortages, wrangles its drunk students, and works its special events, but it is not enough! TPD must also bend to the whims of ASU in an attempt to boost the university’s image.

TPD continued to release the affiliation information of its suspects/victims, and showed it has enough common sense to realize the university affiliation of an individual is easy to find out via asu.edu. This obviously made ASU very upset, as they were furiously attempting to salvage their reputation and credibility as an academic institution; every negative mention of ASU in the media translated into a tangible amount of revenue loss to the university.

How did ASU react? According to sources from TPD, ASU is so upset that TPD continues to release information to the media that makes the university look bad, that it is considering legal action against the City of Tempe. We are not too sure what legal leg ASU has to stand on, but this is a horrible move; without TPD’s assistance, ASU and ASUPD will look like the understaffed, mismanaged, and poorly run place we all see on a daily basis.

A word of advice to Michael Crow and company: don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

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According to the news media, Vista Del Sol ISN’T on ASU’S campus!


Initial reports of the ecstasy lab found at Vista Del Sol were reported as occurring on ASU’s Tempe campus, now it is nearly impossible to find a link to the original story on ANY of the major media outlets. On abc15.com (where we pulled the original link from), the news story isn’t on the site AT ALL. The links are still live, and you can still search them from google, but when you are navigating news stories on the site, it is nowhere to be found. (You can read about Tempe news from a week or more earlier, but this story is missing).

Other media outlets that have since updated the story, such as CBS 5, have referred to the dorm where the drug lab was found (Vista Del Sol) as an “apartment in Tempe” near “Apache and Rural Roads”. The title itself even refers to the drug lab as being “near ASU’s campus”. Last time we checked, Vista is a privately managed dorm LOCATED ON ASU’S TEMPE CAMPUS, NOT NEAR IT OR ACROSS THE STREET FROM IT. If that were the case, why does ASUPD respond to Vista calls, NOT Tempe PD?

ASU’s spokeperson Julie Newberg makes it seem like the university cares by stating that violations to the Student Code of Conduct could result in punishment up to/including expulsion from ASU. She also throws in a tidbit about how “the apartment complex is housing for juniors and senior at ASU”, as if to assuage any parents reading the article.

This is a pretty obvious and blatant attempt to minimize the damage done to ASU and also the PD. In reality, ASU has NO concept of the crime problem directly under their noses because they’re too concerned about minimizing bad press so the university won’t lose any revenue generating students due to a poor reputation. If the parent populous KNEW how unsafe their children were at ASU,  they wouldn’t be spending the big out of state money to send them here. Disgusting and sad.

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Crime down across campus? Nah, just less cops.

Found this gem of an article from The State Press:

Crime is down across ASU campus, police said after releasing crime statistics for 2012.

The report shows a 7.6 percent decrease in all crime on the Tempe campus, with individual decreases in alcohol-related, aggravated assault and arson arrests. (Yes, let’s skew the data by excluding the major crime spikes at the outlying campuses).

ASU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Hardina said the decrease in crime can be attributed to programs that focus on educating students.

“I think a lot of factors of it has to do with different strategies, enforcement, education and working with other departments on campus to educate students and reduce crime,” Hardina said. (Translation? Other departments do our work for us!)

ASU spokeswoman Julie Newberg said in an email that the University has implemented many programs to increase safety on campus.

“The safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors is the University’s top priority,” Newberg said. “ASU has extensive programs and services in place and is continuously monitoring and improving them.” (What programs would these be? The alcohol taskforce you initally refused to participate in?)

ASU saw a decrease in alcohol-related crime in 2012, with arrests decreasing by 22 percent and violations referred for action down by 12 percent across all campuses, according to the report. (Arrests down for alcohol? ASUPD has become reactionary in nature, due the critical shortage of staffing. Less officers to be proactive = less arrests. Alternatively, having other agencies take the arrest stats for you).

While many areas did see a decrease in crime, all campuses saw an increase in theft and burglary, the report shows.

Tempe saw 28 more burglaries in 2012, a 40 percent increase from the previous year, according to the report. (40% increase!!)

According to the report, the Downtown, West and Polytechnic campuses saw a 42, 33 and 70 percent increase in theft, respectively. (Up to a 70% increase!? Unacceptable!) This translates to a relatively small 4.5 percent increase across all campuses, because each campus, excluding Tempe, has fewer students and fewer number of incidents. (Fewer students at the outlying campuses, yes…but crime rates nearly tripling in some cases!)

Another area in which crime increased is in drug-related arrests with ASU Police arresting 296 students in 2012, according to the report. This shows a approximately 62 percent increase from the previous year, when only 183 students were arrested, according to the report. (62% increase!??! How is the PD doing its job here? Let’s not forget not too terribly long ago ASUPD stated to azfamily.com that ASU’s drug crimes had DECREASED. So now they’re changing their story? )

Stewart Adams, crime prevention specialist for ASU, said the Crime Prevention Unit is the “proactive” unit of ASU Police and works to prevent crime on campus by giving safety presentations and checking the campus for safety. (Handing out flyers and pencils isn’t being “proactive”; having adequate staffing to allow OFFICERS to be proactive is most effective). While Crime Prevention Unit is very active on campus, the unit’s efforts are hard to measure, because prevented crimes are not able to be measured, Adams said.


Since when did ASU’s spokesperson/media relations guru Julie Newberg decide to release a story on behalf of the PD? Oh yeah, when negative stories come out about ASU that need to have a “positive” spin on them. Nice try.

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