On Nov. 27, at 1:11 pm, there was a medical emergency on Seton Hall University’s campus. The incident took place in the pathway between Jubilee Hall and McNulty Hall.
In addition to emergency medical services (EMS), a South Orange police department (SOPD) car was called to handle the situation.
According to Pat Linfante, associate vice president for Public Safety, and Sergio Oliva, associate director, this is not unusual. The SOPD consistently dispatches cars to respond to medical emergencies along with EMS vehicles.
Linfante said via email that “[p]olice respond on all requests for ambulance service.” Oliva said that “it is standard procedure for any medical emergency” to call a police car as well as the EMS.
Linfante agreed with Oliva, saying, “Yes, [i]t is South Orange Police Department’s standard procedure.”
Oliva added that the medical emergency did involve a member of the Seton Hall community. He could not share any details of the situation due to confidentiality issues regarding HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. When asked how often medical emergencies of this nature occur, Oliva said, “Not very often, but they do happen.”
The SOPD responds to all medical emergencies on the Seton Hall University campus.
The police involvement in this matter was met with mixed emotions.
“If it’s in response to a medical emergency I see absolutely no problem with police on campus,” said junior Asian Studies major Megan Ogilvie. “However if there is no emergency or need for the police on campus I see no need for them to be here.”
In the age of Black Lives Matter and similar movements across the country, there is a growing awareness that some citizens may be negatively impacted by the presence of police officers. Ogilvie pointed out that some students may not feel comfortable with police presence on campus, adding that, “It [police presence on campus] could cause more fear and harm than good, especially for students of color.”
Seton Hall University also has its own security officers. With private security at Seton Hall, some students may feel, like Ogilvie, that they “don’t see a need for police presence on campus.”
Regardless, the SOPD will continue to respond to medical emergencies on Seton Hall University campus and have no plans to change that policy.
Marie Leone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.