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19 November 2013

HACC Issues Update on Alleged Indecent Assault

HARRISBURG, Pa. – HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, thanks the Harrisburg Bureau of Police for their partnership with HACC security regarding the investigation of the alleged indecent assault on the evening of Nov. 18, 2013.
The Harrisburg Bureau of Police continues to investigate the matter. For additional information, please contact Detective John O’Connor of the Harrisburg Bureau of Police at 717-558-6900.
HACC President John J. “SKI” Sygielski, Ed.D., issued a statement to employees and students this afternoon. Following is an excerpt.
Unfortunately, no college or university can completely eliminate these types of situations. Please know that the safety and security of our students and employees remains a top priority for the College. HACC has and continues to make improvements to safety and security.
Here are answers to the most common questions about the alleged incident and HACC’s safety and security:

# Question Response
1. Why did it take so long for communication to go out following the incident?
The alleged victim did not immediately report the incident. HACC security moved quickly once the report was received and was able to get as much information as possible about the alleged incident.
2. Why isn’t there better campus lighting? Over the past several months, HACC has significantly improved lighting at the Harrisburg Campus. One-hundred and fifty (150) lights have been replaced, and all light lenses have been removed and cleaned. HACC will continue monitoring lighting, consider any specific concerns shared by the HACC community and make adjustments where needed.
3. Why aren’t there cameras to cover the outdoor spaces at the Harrisburg Campus? HACC is working on a proposal to install camera coverage in outside areas at the Harrisburg Campus.  We are moving as quickly as possible.
4. How are the security officers providing coverage at the Harrisburg Campus?  In recent months, we have implemented specific “zones” where officers are expected to provide coverage. While we can never be all places at once, the “zone” model has allowed for more strategic and effective coverage at the campus. This helps to ensure that officers are distributed across the campus.
5. Should I be concerned about my safety? According to HACC’s Harrisburg Campus statistics, criminal incidents have decreased over the past three years. Following is the breakdown of criminal incidents for the fall semesters:
  • Aug. 22-Nov. 19, 2013:  9
  • Aug. 22-Dec. 15, 2012:  15
  • Aug. 22-Dec. 15, 2011:  18
6. What is HACC doing to ensure safety at the College? Below are steps that have been taken to date to enhance the security efforts at the College:
  • Partnership training conducted with responding law enforcement agencies (active shooter training)
  • Security consultant hired to review the security department
  • Dedicated zones created to improve response and visibility of officers with specific detailed responsibilities
  • Mandatory foot and bicycle patrols established
  • Accountability measures established to ensure patrols are being conducted
  • Safety and security presentations at all five campuses are given to students and employees
  • Staggered breaks instituted for officers to ensure better coverage
  • College policy changed to allow pepper spray on campuses
  • Specifically for the Harrisburg Campus, the College has:
    • Established a liaison with the Harrisburg Bureau of Police for better communication
    • Surveyed every building to assess needed door locking improvements and created a priority list
    • Improved lighting on campus:
    • 200 lamps replaced  and additional lights added
    • 150 walkway lights replaced
    • Each light lens was removed and cleaned
    • Planned for a future lighting project to add lighting to the Cooper Student Center, Rose Lehrman Arts Center and parking lots
7. What steps can I take to protect myself? All members of the HACC community should be alert and take actions to protect their safety. The following are steps that you can do to protect yourself:
  • Walk with others. Do not go into the parking lots alone.
  •  Call the security department for a security escort by a uniformed officer.
  • When walking, stay in well-lit areas.
  • Immediately report suspicious or out-of-place persons to the security department.
  • Do not approach anyone unknown to you.
  • When arriving at your car, be sure to check in and around it before getting in to ensure no one is hiding.
  • As an added precaution, pepper spray is permissible to carry and can be purchased at any campus bookstore.
  • For immediate police assistance, call 911.

As part of our efforts to stay in communication with our students and employees, we encourage you to sign up for e2Campus alerts to stay informed.
If additional information becomes available, it will be distributed at the appropriate time. 
About HACC
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, offers nearly 200 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to more than 20,000 students at five campuses in Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York and through virtual learning. In addition, HACC serves more than 29,000 students in noncredit workforce development, public safety, adult basic education and continuing education programs offered at all campuses and off-site locations in many communities in Central Pennsylvania. For more information about what HACC has to offer, visit

For further information, contact:
            Chelsea Krepps
            Integrated Marketing Communications Coordinator
            Office telephone: 717-780-2632

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