There are 367 registered sex offenders living within a three mile radius of Boise State’s campus, according to the Central Sex Offender Registry of Idaho.
This currently includes 19 students enrolled at Boise State who are registered sex offenders.
The registry provides names, birthdates, photos and even maps of the addresses where all registered sex offenders live.
“The information provided by the registry is very publicized,” said Jon Uda, the Executive Director of Campus Security and Police Services at Boise State. “But we do not publicize that information further.”
In Idaho, all sex offenders are registered for life. Some offenders can petition to be removed from the registry 10 years after their offense under certain conditions, depending on the nature of their offense and if they are not repeat offenders.
“As far as the registry is concerned, a sex offender that lives near here or goes to school here is required to register with Ada County. That information is then forwarded to the Idaho State Patrol police, who send a formal letter to us indicated that a particular person is a registered sex offender,” Uda stated. “That’s as far as it goes.”
There is no direct correspondence between Campus Security and individual professors if there is a sex offender in one of their classes.
“All that information is available in the registry, but it’s upon the offender themselves to register,” Uda said. “And to me, that’s a potential flaw in the system.”
The label of sex offender can span a broad spectrum of different violations, ranging from rape to urinating in public.
Students at Boise State can be denied residency because of the sex offender designation.
“With any potential resident with a sex offense conviction, regardless of its sort, a sex offender must disclose that information to us,” said Malinda Jensen, the Assistant Director of Residence Life at Boise State.
Jensen then stated that student situations are assessed by Housing and Residence Life on a case-by-case basis.
“When a student identifies themselves as being a sex offender, we require them to send us an email outlining the specifics of their conviction,” Jensen said. “That includes how long ago it was, the nature of the conviction, and any other information that can help us understand the specifics of their
Housing and Residence Life then coordinates with campus security to check the records and verify information before a final decision is made.
“Have we denied students residency because of past sex offenses? Absolutely,” Jensen stated.
Erin Fuller, a junior studying political science at Boise State, told The Arbiter she thinks that the sex offender label can have a stigmatizing effect on a student which is not merited in all cases.
“People can get a sex offender status for a lot of things, which might not be as bad as what everyone assumes a sex offender means,” Fuller said. “The sex offender label covers an entire spectrum.”
Fuller said she does not think the registry is an asset to personal safety in all circumstances.
“I don’t feel like there’s a risk when I’m in class. I feel like that it is unrelated. If I was walking from the library to my car at midnight, that’s when I want a sign above someone’s head if they are indeed a sex offender,” Fuller said.
Other students, like Eric Lyons, a student studying research materials at Boise State, suggested Campus Security should be obligated to inform professors if there is a sex offender in their class.
“I think professors have a right to be informed, just because of the age of some of the kids they’re going to be teaching,” Lyons said.