By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer
According to reports from HuffingtonPost.com and the Washington Post, the University of Virginia will perform background checks on all students at the school following the alleged murder of a 22-year-old female student and lacrosse player, possibly at the hands of her former boyfriend, a 22-year-old fellow student who was also a lacrosse player.
In the wake of the tragic death, the Virginia Governor and University of Virginia President will discuss tougher laws on how to protect students from violence. The Baltimore Sun reported that: Among the topics may be legislation requiring police to report student arrests to the university.
The accused ex-boyfriend who reportedly had a violent streak had attacked the victim two months earlier at a party, according to an eyewitness account in the Washington Post, an incident that was never reported to police or school officials.
The suspected killer also had a run-in with the police before his ex-girlfriend’s death, according to the Post, something a routine background check would have uncovered. He was arrested in 2008 after threatening to kill a female police officer and ended up Tasered and handcuffed. He later pleaded guilty to public drunkenness and resisting arrest.
According to theses reports, the University President admitted the school was unaware of the accused killer’s criminal past. He also said that, under school policy, students are required to self-report arrests and convictions, and a regulation in the student code of regulations requires that kind of report. However, the suspect in the beating death failed to report his previous arrest, and no one at the University checked up on him. In addition, the University’s police department never received any notice of that arrest, and the athletic coaches at the school had no knowledge of it or whether it had been disclosed.
The Post reported that the University President that there were gaps in this system and that the school would begin, at a minimum, to screen students not just athletes with background checks against a state law enforcement database before each semester.