Yale Murder Offers A Chance For Reflection

Hanna Barker and Angel Li

Staff Reporters

Yale graduate student Annie Le, 24, was found dead on Sept. 13, her wedding day. Reported missing five days earlier, her body was found stuffed into a utility compartment in the basement of the secure research building where she worked.

Police have charged coworker Raymond Clark III, 24, with murder, after arresting him and taking DNA samples that compared with material evidence found at the scene.

“It is important to note that this is not about urban crime, university crime, domestic crime but an issue of workplace violence, which is becoming a growing concern around the country,” said New Haven Police Chief James Lewis.

Nevertheless, the fact that the killing took place in a secure campus facility is reason enough to remind all college students to play it safe.

Here at McDaniel, there are many effective security measures in place, but the mere fact that this is an open campus makes it necessary to just be a little bit more careful. Campus Safety provides an escort service, educational programming on a variety of topics, emergency medical assistance, fire prevention, and emergency response.

International students have mixed reactions about campus violence, because in many other countries, guns and other weaponry are outlawed and the rate of violence is lower.

Asked whether she would tell her parents about the Annie Le incident, Chinese Yale freshman Xiaoying Zhou was almost horrified.

“No. Of course not!” she said. “The later [they find out], the better. Soon, they will be worrying sick.”

One day after Le’s body was found, Zhou already received over ten messages from Chinese friends studying at different colleges in the U.S.

“We’re all a bit intimidated,” Zhou said. “Campus violence is not that much of a problem in China, you know. I think from now on, I’ll have to start asking campus security to walk me every night after class.”

Maria Noe Oviedo, director of the Spanish house at McDaniel, shares a similar opinion.

“It scares me a little to know that we need campus security here,” said Oviedo, who is from Argentina. “I didn’t think a campus would be dangerous. I was surprised when a friend offered to walk me at night.”

Director of Campus Safety Michael Webster provides a realistic view of safety at McDaniel.

“McDaniel College is a beautiful campus that encourages a feeling of safety. While it is a very safe campus, it is not immune from crime and all campus community members should be minimizing risks when possible. Laptops left unattended and residence hall doors left propped or Avenue houses left unlocked invite crime,” said Webster.

Most crimes and rule violations deal with liquor and drugs. In 2007, there was a total of only five violent crimes: forcible fondling- 3, robbery-1, and aggravated assault- 1.

Violence on college campuses has been a concern brought into the forefront by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. As a result, McDaniel College has implemented a new alert system, which students can sign up for at www.irisdispatch.com/users . The McDaniel ALERT system is in its second year of use.

“Students should sign up for it because it is the most reliable way to quickly inform them of threats to their safety,” said Webster.

For further information on how to be safe on campus or to report an unsafe situation, call extension 2202 or stop by the Department of Campus Safety, located in Winslow Center.