NYPD investigation caused by student conduct violations

University officials say student code of conduct violations by multiple students was the cause of an NYPD investigation on the Queens campus Wednesday morning.

Jack Flynn, director of judicial affairs, said six St. John’s students have been interviewed regarding their involvement in an incident that occurred on campus around 2 a.m. Wednesday and that at least one more student will be questioned.

On the same day at 7:56 a.m., public safety sent out the first of two emails stating “the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was called to the Queens campus early this morning to investigate an incident involving one of our students.”

A follow-up e-mail, sent at 10:33 a.m., said investigators concluded that no criminal offense had occurred.

Flynn said the students involved are both male and female, that no one has been suspended or sustained “any physical injury that required hospitalization.”

The nature of the incident and violations have not been released by the University but Flynn said, “it could potentially be multiple violations of the code of conduct, so it would be inappropriate to only focus on one.”

“The federal privacy laws really preclude us from saying anything about a student’s conduct situation,” he said. “So for me to be very open about what we’re investigating or who’s being investigated, would actually be a violation of a student’s federal privacy rights.”

Tom Lawrence, vice president of public safety, said the focus of the NYPD investigation centered around the roadway between St. Vincent and O’Connor Halls and mentioned that students living in the dorms were among the people interviewed by investigators.

An internal investigation by St. John’s judicial affairs is ongoing and Flynn said he hopes to conclude the investigation by early next week.

“At this time, we don’t believe [the violations are] going to result in an expulsion or suspension, although we still retain that option,” he said. “However, the matter is serious enough that we feel it will go beyond a formal warning.”

Flynn said details are not being released in order to not spread unwarranted fear.

“I think when you have a situation, anytime something is brought to your attention where the initial details need fleshing out, it behooves us as a University to be cautious in terms of the information that we release,” he said. “What we don’t want to do, is say something that unnecessarily distracts and disturbs the University community. Especially when there is no basis for doing so.”

Lawrence said public safety officers were aware of the incident around 2:10 a.m., and notified police immediately after.

“There was an incident involving a student on campus who we came across and we weren’t sure if something happened to the student or not,” he said. “So erring on the side of being cautious and making sure that the safety of our students and community is paramount, we wanted to make sure we brought in the necessary resources to ensure or find out if anything happened and then move on from there.”

Lawrence said police wrapped up their investigation around 9 a.m.

“We wanted to ensure that our community was safe, bring in the professionals to investigate and make sure that nothing did happen and that was the determination,” he said. “Through the use of the NYPD and our cameras on campus, we were able to prove that nothing criminal happened.”