Elements of new environmental criminology minor, set to launch in the fall, were integrated into two-day contest
Norwich University’s CSI Experience returned from a two-year COVID-19 pandemic hiatus with a new element reflecting the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s evolving offerings.
Dr. Elizabeth Gurian, the school’s associate director and a criminology professor, said she wanted to integrate a new environmental criminology minor, set to launch in the fall, into the student detectives’ puzzles for the two-day event. At her behest, David Sem, Norwich’s adjunct professor and criminal justice internship coordinator, invited Vermont and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials to participate. They inserted a bloody, hair-clotted tarp into a vehicle search, pointing to possible poaching.
“The inclusion of U.S. and Vermont Fish and Wildlife helped to show the practical side to environmental criminology as a new and emerging field focusing on laws, policies and preventative approaches to combating environmental harms and crimes (for example, wildlife trafficking and poaching, illegal pollution, fishing or mining, threats to biodiversity, species extinction, and climate change),” Gurian wrote in an email. “Plus, game wardens are retiring, and (the departments) are looking for interns.”
The environmental criminology minor is one piece of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s interdisciplinary curriculum developed this year. Other offerings are a Bachelor of Science in criminology (the study of crime and criminal behavior); an intelligence and crime analysis minor; a prelaw minor; an accelerated pathway for criminal justice bachelor’s degree that leads to an online master's degree in public administration.
On April 7, Vermont Senior Game Warden Josh Hungerford observed a student vehicle search with Game Warden Trevor Szymanowski. Hungerford, Norwich Class of 2011, advised students to break the vehicle into quadrants — front and back seats, driver and passenger side.
Hungerford praised the students for performing what’s often an all-day task in just the allotted half-hour and for wisely slowing their pace when searching the often evidence-rich front seats.
“What crimes do you think you’ve seen so far?” he asked.
The students correctly listed poaching and nighttime hunting, both illegal in Vermont.
“The doors were flying open and you were like, ‘Hey, come check this out,’” Hungerford said. “But you guys slowed yourselves down. That was really good.”
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