Olivia Silvey ‘25
Executive News Editor
Trinity College has begun an investigation into the antisemitic hate crime occurring in Ogilby Hall on Sept. 16th, as the Tripod reported the week of Sept. 26th. The College’s investigation is also happening at the same time as Hartford Police Department conducts their criminal investigation, since they have jurisdiction over the investigation. The hate crime unit of the Connecticut State Police has also been notified and is working with Hartford PD, according to Robert Lukaskiewicz, Interim Director of Campus Safety.
Currently, the College’s investigation is being conducted by Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Compliance Pamela Whitley, in accordance with Trinity’s nondiscrimination policy. An external investigator, an attorney with experience specifically in higher education, has been brought in by the office to conduct interviews with the parties involved, including potential witnesses, and find relevant information from Campus Safety, among other actions regarding the investigation.
There is a set of steps that all parties involved must go through before an investigation begins. In the case of this hate crime, there were certain necessary actions to be taken before Whitley’s office was notified. According to Whitley, there can be no action taken by her office until a formal complaint has been made. Only after a formal notification did the College officially notify the community by email.
For this formal complaint to reach Whitley, first, someone must make a verbal or written complaint to an appropriate college official. In the nondiscrimination policy, this person is called the “complainant,” and. in the case of this investigation, the complainant is the student who initially reported the swastikas being carved into their residence hall door. Lukaskiewicz stated that the complainant reported to Campus Safety the Sunday morning after they found swastikas carved on their door.
Once the student made the complaint, an officer wrote up the report and submitted it to Lukaskiewicz, who then reviewed it and shared the report with necessary administrators. Additionally, Lukaskiewicz assigned a sergeant to have initial conversations with the complainant and the respondent, who is the person identified by the complainant as the alleged perpetrator. Administration involved in the investigation notes that the identification of the respondent does not mean they are found guilty or responsible; the guilt of the respondent can only be determined once the investigation is conducted by the external investigator.
After the initial report was written, determining what the allegations are and what policies are at play, Hartford PD and Connecticut State Police were notified. At this point, the case was referred to Whitley’s office, which is when the investigator was found and the official investigation began. This is where the investigation currently stands.
Additionally, a no contact order has been put in place between the complainant and respondent, which is the typical action in these cases according to Joe DiChristina, Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment. Residency has also been evaluated and adjusted DiChristina said, and all of these actions are especially important to remind the parties involved that retaliation is not tolerated. Retaliation is defined, in simple terms, as backlash towards someone who reported a violation and/or participated in an investigation.
Once the investigation is finished, the investigator will write up a report determining their findings. These findings will include whether an individual, if anyone, is found responsible for the hate crime. If someone is found responsible, the adjudication process will begin, which is when the administration will determine what sanctions will be enacted.
Both Lukaskiewicz and DiChristina note that where the investigation is now means that sanctions, or consequences, are not topics of discussion. Again, the report must be written before any consequences and further action can be considered whatsoever. These consequences range anywhere from censure (a type of probation noted on their transcript), to suspension (the student is physically separated from the College and restricted from participating in academic and curricular activities), to expulsion (a “dishonorable permanent separation”), or any other sanctions (or combination of sanctions) listed in the policy.
Finally, to clear any rumors, Trinity administration wants to make it clear to the community that an individual’s financial situation has no effect on the outcome of this investigation or any other similar investigations.
Trinity administration continues to encourage anyone with any sort of information regarding the crime to contact either Campus Safety at 860-297-2222, Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Compliance Pamela Whitley at 860-297-2493, or the Campus Climate Incident Response Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The investigation is still in full swing and any information will be helpful. This is an ongoing story, and we will continue reporting on any advancements made.