Campus Police Chief Anne Glavin has invited MIT student journalists to inspect the complete police logs each week rather than depend solely upon the summary provided by the department for publication. The department will continue to issue the summary.
The log records all calls received by the department. As a public record, it can be inspected by interested parties, which student reporters have done in the past on occasion.
The summary, prepared by police personnel, omits certain types of incidents, some because they are trivial, others as a matter of policy. For instance, medical calls are not included to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.
The issue, which was raised in an editorial in The Tech last fall, resurfaced over the weekend when The Boston Sunday Globe reported that students at MIT and Harvard suspected that campus police were withholding information about sensitive incidents.
Dan McGuire, editor of The Tech, told reporters that he did not believe there is "a conspiracy" to suppress information. "There are some major communications gaps," he said. "Some things we feel are newsworthy are being omitted. We're eager to work with the Campus Police to clear up any problems and assure accurate and complete reporting of incidents in the future."
As an MIT example, The Globe noted the binge-drinking episode that resulted in the death of freshman Scott Krueger was not included in the summary and thus did not appear under the Police Log logo in The Tech the following week. The same information is printed in MIT Tech Talk as Crimewatch.
At a news conference Sunday, Chief Glavin noted that numerous press releases had been issued on the incident, starting on Saturday, Sept. 27, and that MIT officials had answered questions in interviews and at press conferences. By the time The Tech came out on September 30, the story had been reported nationally and locally. All press releases were sent to The Tech and its reporters were invited to all news conferences.
For this reason, Chief Glavin said, the incident was not included in the summary because "it was widely publicized." It did appear in the log.
Chief Glavin noted that the department also issues Crime Bulletins that report incidents important to the community that occur off-campus and do not appear in the log. These are distributed by e-mail and displayed on bulletin boards around the campus. In addition, the department has issued annual crime reports since 1975. "These are hardly the actions of a university that wants to cover up crime," she said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 11, 1998.