We have the right to know


Campus Safety responding to an incident involving a student’s car and a tree branch that fell in the S8 parking lot. This is one of many incidents that were not made available to Clarion staff despite multiple attempts. (Jessica Soto/Clarion)

By Jessica Soto | News Editor

“What they don’t know won’t hurt them.”

This is the statement I imagine is being passed among the people involved with providing the campus incident reports to those who ask for them.

Forget the fact that there have been 11 aggravated assaults, three forced sex offenses and three disciplinary referrals for illegal weapons possession violations reported at Citrus since 2009 according to the Department of Campus Safety Annual Security Report.

Details of those incidents should not concern Citrus students, right?

Wrong.

California Education Code Section 67380 requires that appropriate officials “make the information concerning the crimes . . . available within two business days following the request of any student or employee of, or applicant for admission to, any campus within their respective jurisdictions, or to the media.”

When I personally requested to see the campus incident reports it took one week to get a response from the interim supervisor of campus safety. I was then told the reports would be ready to view within the next two days.

It was not until two days later that I was told I now needed to file a formal request before viewing the incident reports.

As a courtesy to any individual requesting these documents, it would be nice to know that a formal request was required. Especially when the initial request was made almost two weeks prior.

As a student of Citrus College, I come to school each day and attend classes just like every other student.

The one big difference is that I am a journalist. I work along side 15 other student journalists on the Clarion staff.

It is our job to inform you, the students and staff, about issues that are important to you, whether you know it or not.

But there is no way we can provide you — our readers — with information that we don’t have.

In the past, our staff has had problems collecting certain information in a timely manner that might portray Citrus in a negative way.

Though issues obtaining information are few and far between, they still occur.

Citrus College is a great place. But no campus is perfect. It is our legal right as students and as members of the Citrus community, to have access to incidents happening on our campus.

This has been the second semester that incident reports have been inconsistently given to the Clarion, though requests for reports are given as far as two weeks in advance.

The saying “secrets don’t make friends” seems to fit perfectly in this instance because the more we struggle to get the information we are entitled to the less I trust the people involved.

Not every story written about Citrus is going to be flattering and Campus Safety, administrators, faculty and staff have to realize that we are not out for blood, we are merely seeking the truth and if the truth is negative, then so be it. It is not the intent of the Clarion, or myself, to hurt the reputation of the college or the reputations of any individuals. We just want to inform.

I’m sure this article may spark some metaphorical fire, but my hope is that those who become angered by what I have said will stop and realize the frustration that comes from not being able to do our job: informing the students.

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