A plaque dedicated to Jeanne Clery sits in the Lower Centennial courtyard on Thursday, April 21, 2016. This year is the 30th anniversary of her death. (Claudia Cohen/B&W Staff)

2016 marks 30th anniversary of Clery’s death

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Jeanne Clery was finishing up the spring semester of her first year at Lehigh in 1986 when she was murdered by another student.

On the 30th anniversary of Jeanne Clery’s death, Lehigh continues to work to make the campus safer than it has been in the past.

According to an LA Times article, on April 5, 1986, Clery went back to her room in Stoughton House in Lower Centennials. Another Lehigh student, Joseph Henry, a sophomore from Newark, New Jersey, arrived at Stoughton later that night — and entered the building. Students did not use ID card security systems then, and it was common for students to prop the door to their residence hall open so their friends could come and go.

When Henry entered the dorm, he tried the knob to Clery’s door and it opened. Clery had left her bedroom unlocked for her roommate to come home. She heard someone rummaging through her belongings, and then Henry violently attacked her, according to the article. He beat her face and body, repeatedly slashing her neck with broken glass, raping and sodomizing her, and strangling her to death. She was found in her room by another student at 11 a.m. the following morning.

Henry confessed to his friends, who turned him in to the police. He was convicted of first-degree murder and given the death penalty, a sentence that was later thrown out in lieu of spending life in prison. He’s still behind bars today.

Clery’s parents, Connie and Howard Clery, founded the Clery Center for Security on Campus, a nonprofit organization with a mission to create safer college campuses. They were alarmed that more information was not provided to students and their families about crimes that occurred on campus and that there were no consistent laws requiring campus authorities to notify them about such incidents.

The Clerys worked to facilitate safer educational environments and make safety information available. Within just a few years of founding their organization, Congress approved the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, which was later renamed the Jeanne Clery Act in her honor.

The act mandates all colleges and universities that receive federal funding must publicly publish their security policies, a crime log, an annual crime report and communicate emergency warnings to students and campus employees of crimes that might pose a threat. It also guarantees certain basic rights to campus sexual assault victims and requires the Department of Education to collect and disseminate campus safety statistics.

Lehigh’s housing website boasts an “A” campus security rating by Reader’s Digest, citing a full, state-accredited police force with a brand new station, 24-hour cruiser and bike patrols, an emergency telephone “blue light” system, TRACS shuttle buses, walking escorts and a magnetic card system to control access to residence halls.

But despite all this, some students worry it’s not enough — that vulnerabilities in Lehigh’s security still exist and that they compromise the safety of students.

Caitlin Grady, ’17, recalled being a Lower Centennials resident in 2013 when an unknown man was seen lurking in her building, Stevens House and other first-year halls. He was spotted in the hallway, in the laundry room, in a women’s bathroom stall, and on one occasion, Grady awoke to him standing over her bed in her room. He gained access to the building by waiting at the door asking students to swipe him in, referencing common first names as people he knew that lived there.

“I never really felt 100 percent safe because (the residence halls) were so close to off campus with no real security,” Grady said.

Emma Wald, ’17, lived in Stevens House her freshman year and said she remembers seeing the stranger in her building.

“It’s definitely scary that he found his way in more than once,” Wald said. “Part of it falls on students just being careless, but it shows that the system’s not perfect and that’s kind of concerning.”

Grady said the Lehigh University Police Department apprehended the unknown man.

“Anyone can wait by a dorm door until someone who lives there goes in or comes out,” said Dabney Brice, ’18, a Gryphon in Warren Square C. “Because people feel this campus is safe, they don’t really think about who they’re letting in . . . It’s not that difficult to get into a dorm on this campus.”

Brice said Residence Life staff receive extensive preparation on what to do in emergency situations of all sorts. She said she and the other Gryphons were told the Clery story during their training period.

In situations that could jeopardize people’s safety, a Gryphon’s protocol is to call the Lehigh University Police Department. Brice said despite how safe campus can feel, she warns all her residents not to allow anyone into the buildings without proper verification.

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2 Comments

  1. Susan L. Cozzie Magaziner on

    The following is in reference to on- going concerns that have been the topic of federal Clery legislation probes at Lehigh. Incidents have been brought to the attention of federal authorities and our President’s response is provided herewith. Two new civil rights cases are outstanding and matters relating to the present open case monitoring by the US Department of Education are presently considered as submission of new issues under the current case of harassment and hostile environment. The University remains under federal jurisdictional enforcement monitoring at this time. Our President and Board President respond herewith. Let’s keep our students safe and at Peace in our community. May God Bless Jeanne Clery and her loving family together with Clery Director James Moore, Senior Investigator Keith Ninemire. The Spirit of Jeanne embraces all at Lehigh and her courage and that of her family will never be forgotten.

    Stay Strong Lehigh Community.

    Very Truly Yours,

    Mrs. Susan Cozzie Magaziner, M.A., B.C.E.A., ‘ 77

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: President Account
    Date: February 19, 2016 at 6:53:52 PM EST
    To: slmag@comcast.net
    Subject: Message from President John Simon and Chairman of the Board Brad Scheler

    Dear Ms. Magaziner,

    We are writing in response to your February 19, 2016 email messages and telephone calls regarding ………We take seriously the issues and concerns that you have related. Know and be assured that the issues and concerns are and will be the subject of careful and thorough review and consideration by and on behalf of the University.

    Very truly yours,

    John D. Simon

    Brad Eric Scheler

  2. In the fall of 1989, 3 1/2 years after Jeanne Ann Clery’s death, I was a junior and an assistant hall director of Lower Centennial, the dorm that she was murdered in. Over the summer, locks with key card assess were installed on all hall and dorm entrances dorm entrances. Prior to that only individual rooms had locks and keys. The Hall Director, me and the Gryphons had the explain repeatedly why these were needed. Everyone hated it, because it was inconvenient and you could not just “pop-in” to say “Hi” to friends. Everyone who knew Jeanne Ann had graduated and institutional memory is short. The new students did not know the difference but all of the upper classes students complained to them. As the Assistant Hall Director, I supported the rules publicly (without a lot of conviction), but privately with, my friends from the soccer team and my sorority sisters at Gamma Phi Beta, I expressed my frustration. I thought it was a waste of time and money because people would get in anyway. I like most students and parents had a “not at my school” mentality, even in the face of a recent murder and rape. I wish the Lehigh was forced to show a documentary about Jeanne Ann and other similar instances to bring it closer to home to all students. It may not have made a difference because I was young and immateur, even though I did not think so at the time.

    Last year was my 25 year Lehigh reunion. I am now a parent, an emergency physician and leader of disaster and emergency response programs within schools. I am shocked on a regular basis as to how little students, parents, administrators and teachers know about emergency and disaster prevention, preparedness, and response, until something public happens. The risk is still low but when it happens to you, your friends or your community, it does not matter what the risk was in the past, you are 100% impacted (in the past 3 days, there was a shooting at the University of Washington 1/20/2017 with 4 people shot and 2 people shot at a West Liberty High School on 1/20/2014).

    Here are some facts:

    1.. Security IS inconvenient BUT it is also more important than your inconvenience. It is everyone’s job to take security seriously and focus on measures to keep your friends, fellow-students, professors, co-workers and staff safe– it takes a village. Tragedies happen infrequently and the inconvenience is daily. We tend to focus on the inconvenience and forget the risk of tragedies, until one happens. If you or your child is the one that lets a gunman, murderer or rapist into your dorm, living unit, office, sorority or fraternity, how bad would you feel for the REST OF YOUR LIFE?

    2.. Not letting someone into your building, reporting suspicious activity, speaking to a school official about someone being harassed or someone who is depressed, suicidal or homicidal takes time, effort and involvement. It is much easier to ignore it and not get involved.

    3. Lehigh administrators are conflicted in this area. They want to keep the students, staff and faculty safe, but they also do not want to publicize gaps, mistakes and tragedies because they are concerned about enrollment and reputation. There needs to be an opposing force that pushed Lehigh to take uncomfortable and/or costly actions. This force needs to come from the Lehigh community itself. We were lucky that the Clery family became safety and security advocates after their daughters death instead of curling up into a ball and giving up. I am convinced that more people would have died, been sexually assaulted and/or harmed without the programs, advocacy and laws at which they worked tirelessly the past 30 years!

    I loved Lehigh while I was there and I still love it. In fact, I met my husband, Eric Close, in Pittsburgh 10 years later through fellow alumni, and he also graduated from Lehigh in 1991. I want us as a community and as individuals to thank the Clery Family for all of their hard work and sacrifice by ACTING:

    I challenge the students, professors, administration, parents and alumni to do the following:
    1. Re-frame your thoughts so that every time you tell someone that you can not let him or her in to your office, dorm, living quarters, state to yourself and/or the person, “I am doing this because I want my friends, family and everyone around me to be safe. I am sorry about the inconvience but it is important and necessary.

    2. Look for opportunities to improve the systems at Lehigh for protecting and responding to disasters and emergencies. If you see a broken lock, report it. If you see a door propped, un-prop it. If you see something concerning, including students not adjusting well or emotionally having issues, report it…

    3. Lastly, prepare yourself and your environment for emergencies and disasters. Does Lehigh have a process for mass notifications through texts or emails? Are there cameras at entrances and if yes, how is the data monitored and saved? Do you know the crime statistics on your campus? There is an explosion of technology in this sector to help prevent and mitigate emergencies and disasters. How advanced is Lehigh?

    If a student or student group is interested in forming a committee, club or task force to look into these issues and/or creating a video documenting the Jeanne Ann Clery story and resulting laws/changes, I would be more than happy to help. I live just afew hours away in the Pittsburgh area.

    4. Everyone should subscribe to the FREE Campus Safety Magazine http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/ which should be laying around all common areas on Lehigh’s campus (I have no affiliation with Campus Safety Magazine).

    Stay Safe- Kelly Buller Close ’91

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