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Binghamton U. Shoplifters “Publicly Shamed”

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Binghamton University officials are investigating allegations that some students suspected of stealing in campus dining halls were subjected to “public shaming” by police.

The student newspaper Pipe Dream reported incidents in which students who may have taken food without paying were given the choice of “publicly announcing their crime” or being arrested.

Binghamton University president Harvey Stenger says the allegations are being reviewed.

Speaking on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program, Stenger said officials are trying to determine “exactly what happened and why this occurred.”

In one incident reported by Pipe Dream, a student suspected of stealing food was “humiliated” when a university police officer asked him in front of other students whether he’d ever do that again.

Stenger said steps will be taken to prevent officers from treating possible offenders that way.

The president said: “I feel bad about it and we’re going to take actions to make sure that we right this wrong.”

Stenger said he believes the apparent shaming tactic may have occurred twice in a short period of time. He said: “This was a big mistake.”

Stenger said it’s possible an officer thought “he was doing the right thing” by giving a student “a second chance.” But, he said, it would not have been the appropriate way to handle such a situation.

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