On June 12, 2009, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued a letter informing every college and university in New York State, that underreporting crime statistics violates state law. In a landmark case, AG Cuomo required Dominican College to reform their current system of reporting on-campus crimes, as well as pay $20,000 to New York State.
The federal Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose campus security policies, as well as three years worth of crime statistics to current and prospective students. A complaint was filed against Dominican College following an on-campus sexual assault which led to an investigation revealing that Dominican had erroneously reported the number of crimes on campus and did not have adequate procedures in place.
The Attorney General’s letter, the $20,000 fine and the Clery Act all represent excellent Lessons Learned for educational institutions. For example:
Does your school have adequate procedures in place to ensure accurate crime reporting?
Does your school have a training program in place to ensure all campus personnel understand their responsibilities for crime reporting issues?
Have you designated officials to oversee and coordinate the collection of campus crime reports to ensure they are properly maintained and implemented on an ongoing basis?
Have you reviewed your institution’s policies, procedures and practices regarding campus crime reporting to ensure your compliance with the Clery Act?
At a time when budgets are tight and resources are limited, colleges cannot afford to ignore compliance requirements and face expensive fines. Schools need tools that will reduce real costs, ensure compliance requirements are met ongoing and improve overall safety and efficiencies.
It is critical that schools implement lessons learned and ensure that all campus personnel understand their responsibilities for reporting and preventing crime. It is also critical that schools implement simple and anonymous incident reporting tools to improve student safety and provide students, faculty, third-parties, etc. an efficient way to report potential threats on campus. (Awareity’s new Incident Reporting tools will be released soon…so watch for our coming announcements!)
What is your school doing to improve overall safety and preparedness on campus and implement valuable lessons learned?