Montclair State constantly boasts “It’s all here,” but no one thought that promise included indecent exposure. On Feb. 12, Chief Paul Cell of the Montclair State University Police Department alerted members of the community of another report of indecent exposure outside of Fenwick Hall.
The email explained that, while the victim was in the building’s lobby, a male knocked on a window to gain their attention and “appeared to have his hands down his pants and then exposed his genitals” before running away. Unfortunately, the police’s efforts to find the alleged offender were unsuccessful.
After the alert, many questioned why incidents like this are continuing to occur at Montclair State. Even @montclairprobs tweeted, “Keep. Your. Pants. On.” While the solution may be as easy as everyone keeping their pants on, there are very serious consequences to these incidents.
While these instances may seem like harmless jokes, they are actually very serious crimes. Under the New Jersey Staffing Alliance 2C:14-4, “A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he does any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which he knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other non-consenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.”
Clearly, indecent exposure is a “flagrantly lewd and offensive act.” Also, in this case, and the previous cases of indecent exposure, the situation caused a non-consenting individual to be alarmed, which led to them call the University Police Department.
According to FindLaw, in New Jersey, being convicted of a disorderly person offense can lead to 30 days of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. The punishment becomes more severe if the victim is a minor or a mentally disabled person. In that case, the convicted may face up to 18 months and be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000. With such serious legal consequences, it is clear that the police are not taking this as a laughing matter.
Having an increased amount of this type of crime on campus is quickly making Montclair State less safe. While incidents of indecent exposure seem harmless, they can have devastating effects on victims. Placing individuals in this situation reminds them that they are helpless, not in control and not safe. It can even result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as triggering those who have been through traumatic experiences.
In Montclair State’s mission statement, it promises to provide faculty, staff and students with “a safe and secure environment.” As members of the university community, it is important to work to uphold these promises as they mutually benefit everyone on campus. Although this is the university’s promise, it should be the responsibility of all community members to work to uphold those promises. The recent actions being taken by one or a few individuals are ruining the “safe and secure environment” that Montclair State University always should be.
If these incidents continue, Montclair State may become known for indecent exposure. This may deter high school seniors from coming to Montclair State. Not to mention, that it is an absolutely terrible way to be identified. No one wants to say that they go to Montclair State only to have friends and family recall it as the school with all the cases of indecent exposure.
While it may seem like a joke to those who continue to expose themselves around campus, it should be of great concern to those who call Montclair State their home because fellow members of the Montclair State community have been made victim to these actions.
In order to respect to the law and the campus community, it would be best if everyone just kept their pants on.