UB notifies campus of Level 2 sex offender in mass email
Student's photo, crimes, description linked to UB Alert sent out on first day of class
UB sent out a campus-wide email alert Monday notifying all students and staff that there is Level 2 sex offender enrolled in classes.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time UB has needed to post or send such a notice,” said UB Spokesman John Della Contrada in an email.
The email alert directed the campus community to a link from New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services’ website that included the student Daniel Lampke’s crimes, photo and current address. He was convicted of attempting to possess materials of sexual performance by a child, according to the New York State website.
The site also listed the crime as involving pornography, use of a computer and no force or weapon. Lampke, 21, was charged with a misdemeanor, served no jail time and has six years of probation.
“University Police do not think there is a specific threat,” Della Contrada said. “This is a matter of following state law and providing the campus community members with information they have the right to know.”
Lampke did not respond to The Spectrum's request for an interview.
Students such as Anokhi Patel, a senior biomedical sciences major, questioned why the email was the method necessary if the student poses no threat.
It’s a SUNY precedent, according to Della Contrada.
By law, the university is required to make information about Level 2 and 3 sex offenders available to the public. SUNY’s Office of General Counsel, which offers legal advisement to the SUNY Board of Trustees, told UB to provide the information by emailing the entire campus community rather than just posting a notice on a UB website, according to Della Contrada.
After repeated phone calls, SUNY representatives did not return The Spectrum’s request for an interview by the time of press.
Chief of Police Gerald Schoenle said although the decision to send the notice via email “was made higher up,” UPD recommended the same procedure.
SUNY consistently recommends “campuses actively communicate” Level 2 notifications to students, faculty and staff, Della Contrada said. He described handling the situation as “new territory for the university” and said SUNY’s legal guidance was appreciated.
UPD has received little negative reaction to the email – but that hasn’t been the case in all SUNY schools that have followed the same sort of procedure.
In 2011, SUNY Geneseo posted a notification on its Facebook page – similar in content to that of UB’s email – about a student who was a Level 3 sex offender. The differing levels indicate the perpetrator’s risk of repeat offense.
Geneseo’s post sparked a heated online debate of if sharing the information in that way was appropriate. Geneseo’s website states it also uses an email alert system to notify the campus community of Level 2 and 3 offenders.
Chuck Leonard, a junior exercise science major, thinks sending out an email to the whole campus the way UB did was the best method to share the information.
“You can’t leave it to be stumbled upon on a website,” he said. “It’s in the best interest of the students to know.”
Lampke, after meeting with UB Judicial Affairs, is ineligible for on-campus housing and barred from non-academic activities for at least one year, according to Della Contrada. The court’s imposed sanction did not include any higher education restrictions.
“We certainly don’t want anyone to harass this individual who is on probation and trying to get an education,” Schoenle said. “He has a right to attend school at a public university.”
Felony charges – which Lampke did not have – require a student’s status and edibility to attend a SUNY school to be reviewed and potentially terminated. Misdemeanors do not require the same review under SUNY’s ex-offender policy.
Lampke, who is listed a linguistics major on UB’s directory, was accepted into the university last academic year, according to Della Contra. That was prior to his March 2014 conviction.
UB’s need to notify the campus of Level 2 and 3 sex offenders falls under the Campus Sex Crime Prevention Act of 2000, which requires registered sex offenders to notify any institution they are attending of their legal status.
The act is an amendment to Megan’s Law, which compels law enforcement authorities to make information about registered sex offenders available to the campus community.