UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — A former homecoming king and queen have launched an online petition asking Hofstra University to beef up off-campus security, including in the area where a student was killed during a home invasion.
Andrea Rebello of Tarrytown, a Hofstra junior, was accidentally shot by a police officer during a May 17 home invasion off campus. The intruder, a prison parolee, was also killed.
Newsday reported that the parolee, Dalton Smith of Hempstead, won praise from a state parole panel in 2011 before his release.
The petition, which had been signed by more than 2,000 people by Thursday afternoon, asserts that "acts of violence have been commonplace for students living off-campus for years." It demands increased security, especially at night, in off-campus areas where Hofstra students live.
It also says the school should have a full-time office to help students living off-campus and a registry for landlords offering off-campus housing.
Lastly, the petition calls for Hofstra to create a "Greek Row" on or near campus where fraternities and sororities can have houses.
Hofstra's president, Stuart Rabinowitz, issued a statement Wednesday saying security workers already patrol the neighborhood. He says they have no jurisdiction off campus but cooperate with Nassau County and Village of Hempstead police who do.
He also said, "We encourage our students to live on campus."
Cassie Goldberg, a 2007 graduate and the 2006 homecoming queen, said Thursday that the petition she launched with 2006 graduate Alex Strum asks the college to improve that collaboration with local police.
"We're not experts about jurisdiction," she said. "It's not because we think Hofstra has a legal obligation. It's because they should have the same concern for all their students."
Karla Schuster, a Hofstra spokeswoman, said the school already has an office that assists students living off campus. And she said fraternities and sororities, like other college groups and clubs, are offered group housing in dorms, "but none have taken advantage of that option."
Goldberg said the fraternities and sororities want "more of an adult living experience rather than the dorms."
Newsday's report on the parolee, which cited a parole hearing transcript, said the panel praised Smith for completing a program to curb aggressive behavior and furthering his education.
Rebello, 21, was buried Wednesday after a funeral in Sleepy Hollow.