The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC watching for enrolling sex offenders

By Charity Montieth/managing editor

As students begin to register for the upcoming summer term, an official notice recently posted on WebAdvisor relating to sex offenders may raise some questions.

According to the notice, any individual registering for classes at TCC who has been convicted of a sex offense must also register with campus police. Failure to comply is grounds for immediate dismissal from TCC and could lead to further legal action.

“ This message has been added to assure that involved students are aware of the law that requires sex offenders to register with local police authorities,” Cathie Jackson, TCC director of admissions and records, said.

The decision to place the message on WebAdvisor was not in response to any particular incident, Frank Buchanan, TCC chief of police, said.

“ We decided that we needed to take a pro-active response to keeping a safe, secure environment for students and staff,” he said.

Buchanan said that once sex offenders have served their sentence, they are normally within their rights to enroll for classes at TCC. Most sex offenders must report to a probation or parole officer, who is responsible for monitoring their whereabouts, and should let them know if they are restricted from signing up for classes.

“ [TCC Police] want to make sure that no one with those restrictions slips through the cracks,” Buchanan said.

Jackson and Buchanan both agreed that as long as there are no restrictions against being on campus, TCC cannot and will not discriminate against these individuals.

“ We’re not going around pointing fingers at people,” Buchanan said. “Our job is to make sure they are in compliance with the law.”

Once an individual has registered with the campus police, Buchanan said the information is kept on file with the TCC police department and forwarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety, as required by law. TCC has no plans to publish the information on campus.

Buchanan said anyone can access sex offender information online at the DPS Web site, which has a link allowing users to search by college. Users can view a profile that includes detailed information regarding description, offense, current status and several photos.

Buchanan said he checks the Web site often and cautions that the current information online can be slightly skewed. The DPS database currently shows 13 registered sex offenders whereas Buchanan said there are six sex offenders registered with TCC.

“ The [DPS] database does not get updated as often as it should, and that’s the case for any criminal history—not just sex offenders,” he said.
Jennifer Tyner, representative from the DPS, said the backlog is mainly because the DPS deals with an enormous number of convictions from the entire state.

“ When we deal with higher education institutions, [sex offender’s] enrollment can change every three or four months,” she said.

The best source for up-to-date information is either the campus or city police department, Tyner said.

In spite of the numbers, Buchanan says there is no immediate risk to students or faculty.

“ Given that there are nearly 60,000 students at TCC, having six spread over four campuses is very few,” he said. “It’s not a major problem. We are just taking preventive measures, and I think people will appreciate that.”.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian