Thief’s fate rests on shoulders of Campus Life

A student who police say admitted to 14 thefts during a six-month period in the University Recreation Center will not have to face the Texas court system, TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham said.The student, whose identity administrators say is protected under the Federal Privacy Law, was caught March 5 in the act of stealing from the storage compartments on the south side of the weight room in the Rec Center, Ham said.

After subsequent questioning from TCU Police, Ham said the accused admitted to the 14 prior thefts that took place in the same area since Aug. 23.

The items stolen from the weight room – mostly cash, wallets and purses – came to about $2,020 in value, Ham said.

Since identifying the suspect, TCU Police said they have contacted each person who reported having items stolen from the weight room to determine whether each person wanted to file criminal charges or leave disciplinary action to the university.

Each person declined to prosecute, so TCU Police transferred the case and related disciplinary action to Campus Life, Ham said.

Susan Adams, dean of Campus Life, said little can be released about the case because of a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Since disciplinary procedures are considered part of a student’s education record, Adams said FERPA, which protects the privacy of student education records, prevents the identity of the accused and TCU’s disciplinary action from being divulged.

Adams said the student’s disciplinary proceedings have already begun according to the mandates of the Official Student Handbook.

She said the handbook’s Code of Student Conduct section on theft and unauthorized use of property and the section on violation of law and university discipline are the ones that will be addressed.

But the handbook doesn’t specify disciplinary steps in this case as it does in cases related to drugs and alcohol, Adams said.

“These kinds of things are taken on a case-by-case basis,” Adams said. “Disciplinary action could range from finding the student isn’t in violation of the code all the way to expulsion from school.