Campus police say fraudulent use of i-card will lead to criminal charges

Most students who frequent any Campus Recreation facility know they must have their i-card to enter. But University police will now be involved every time students borrow or steal someone else’s i-card.

On Nov. 30, Campus Recreation met with University police to discuss this “zero tolerance” policy, and both police and employees said there will be negative consequences for students trying to use another’s i-card.

Previously, the police were called when staff felt it was necessary to notify the situation.

“We want to curtail the theft that is taking place at Campus Recreation,” University Police Lt. Skip Frost said. “We are going to make arrests appropriately. We will be present a lot more at Campus Recreation spots.”

The police’s presence also helps the staff, said Erik Riha, lead assistant director of marketing for the Division of Campus Recreation. The policy alleviates the staff at Campus Recreation from handling the problem.

“We do not have to worry about a confrontation happening,” Riha said. “We confiscate the ID. We simply say ‘this is not you.’”

Riha said once a fake i-card is spotted, the police are informed of the incident even if the person who tried to get in has already left. Employees then describe the individual to the police, and officers decide how they want to handle the situation.

Once Campus Recreation has possession of the i-card, Kristina Pettigrew, assistant director of membership services, said the card then goes to the i-card office and a notification is sent to Brian Farber, associate dean and director of Student Conflict Resolution. The students in trouble are suspended from all Campus Recreation facilities. Depending upon the infraction, the suspension could be from three to six weeks.

Frost said serious verbal altercations are the result of the Campus Recreation staff catching an individual with someone else’s i-card.

When a student willingly gives their i-card to another person, both parties will face consequences, Frost said. The student that loaned out their i-card will face troubles from the University, while the borrower will face criminal charges, he added.

Farber said the student is sent a notification by e-mail, stating they are being issued a University reprimand, the lowest form of a formal sanction. The e-mail also explains why the use of another person’s i-card is a theft of services, Farber said.

A reprimand means there is a disciplinary file in the Student Conflict Resolution Office that states the student’s behavior failed to meet the University’s expectations. It will remain on file for one year.

“If there have not been any other violations of the code, we will destroy it like it did not happen,” Farber said.

University police Lt. Roy Acree said the individual who is caught trying to use someone else’s i-card will be charged with theft of services. If they caused physical harm, they will be charged with aggravated battery. Another charge is aggravated assault if the individual attempts to harm a staff member.

“There are ways to come in and use the facility legally,” Riha said. “We know who you are and everything is okay. We encourage people to do things the right way.”