Faculty, student concerns about 20 clocks missing from academic buildings lead to ongoing UPD investigation

Clocks have disappeared in several different academic buildings, including Newton Hall, Milne Library, the Integrated Science Center and Bailey Hall. These 20 missing clocks have precipitated an ongoing investigation by University Police (Josie Kwan/ Assoc. photo editor).

Students and professors have raised questions after noticing  clocks missing from Newton Hall, Milne Library, the Integrated Science Center and Bailey Hall. The 20 missing clocks have prompted a University Police Department investigation.

While concrete details are unavailable because of the ongoing investigation, those whose comments were sought for this article generally agreed that the clocks began to disappear during the fall 2018 semester. 

“Unfortunately, due to the fact that the case is still open, I cannot comment further on the matter,” Chief of UPD Thomas Kilcullen said in a statement.

According to the Geneseo Student Code of Conduct, Section IV Article B, “… attempted or actual theft of personal, public, or College property …” is an example of the types of behaviors that are “antithetical” to the values Geneseo hopes students possess.

Violation of the Student Code of Conduct may instigate Geneseo conduct proceedings, which may also institute that a student be charged with a violation of law, according to Section IV, Article C. This article also states that Student Code of Conduct “may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings at the discretion of the Dean of Students or their designee.”

“I do not want to presume that the missing clocks are a function of student behavior,” Director of the Center for Community and Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio said. “We know from recent experience that this isn’t always the case. If it turns out that a student or students are involved in the thefts, it would fall under the Code of Conduct, in addition to the law.”

If civil or criminal proceedings are carried out, the theft of the clocks would qualify as petit larceny, according to New York State Penal Law 155.25. Petit larceny is defined as the theft of property under a $1,000 value and is a class A misdemeanor. 

“There have been other thefts of college property over the years, but I am not recalling reoccurring thefts like the clocks,” Sancilio said. 

When asked how similar thefts have been handled by the Department of Student Life, Sancilio said that explaining prior code violations would be irrelevant because “we don’t have a specific sanction to fit a violation” in the case of the missing clocks. 

The Geneseo Crime Log is updated by UPD every two business days and includes criminal incidents that occur on campus. The log dates back to November 2017. According to the Crime Log, there have been 78 reports of petit larceny on campus. 24 of these reports occurred in academic buildings. 

Visiting assistant professor in the School of Education Jeanne Galbraith noticed that a clock went missing during her Inquiry-based Teaching and Learning Strategies for Diverse Children (SPED 224) course during the fall 2018 semester. The course was taught in Welles 124.

“I don’t remember exactly at what point during the semester that the clock went missing,” Galbraith said. “It was certainly more towards the end of the semester, perhaps right before or after Thanksgiving break.” 

Galbraith said her frustrations arose when the clock went missing and she did not report its disappearance to UPD.

“I was generally annoyed,” Galbraith said. “I use the clock to keep track of class time. Students also seemed generally annoyed about not having the clock since it faced them from their seats.” 

Education major sophomore Lindsay Rockoff was a student in Galbraith’s SPED 224 course. 

“I remember being genuinely confused when the clock went missing,” Rockoff said. “‘Why would anybody want to steal a clock?’ I wondered to myself. The clock was never replaced.” 

The department of Facilities and Planning Services is responsible for replacing the missing clocks. Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Planning George Stooks said the replacement of the clocks comes from an “already strained operating budget.” The clocks cost $200 to replace. 

“I noticed that a clock went missing in my physics class last semester that was in Newton 202,” physics major sophomore Giacomo Aris said. “I figured it was some prank, but it got to be pretty annoying after a while to not know the time.” 

When asked what measures he felt should be taken to solve the problem, Aris replayed what he described as a “simple solution.” 

“I feel like if there were cameras in the academic buildings there wouldn’t have to be a UPD investigation,” Aris said. “I know that there are no cameras on campus, but there [are] certainly better things that [UPD] could be doing than searching for kids who are just playing pranks.” 

According to an article published by The Lamron in Feb. 2017 regarding suggested increased security cameras, UPD places cameras around campus on an ad-hoc basis when, at their discretion, they are used to help solve a case or in response to an individual’s expressed safety concern.