D.O.E. criticized for compliance failure

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A report issued by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) in March criticized the U.S. Department of Education for its failure to monitor institutional compliance with the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1991, a federal law that requires schools to compile and distribute an annual statistical report on campus crime.The Department’s failure, the GAO noted, has led to widespread confusion and inaccurate information being reported at many schools.”Although colleges are having difficulty complying with the act, the Department only recently began a systematic effort to monitor compliance,” the GAO report stated. Among the GAO’s findings:The Education Department found that 63 colleges and universities had violated the Campus Security Act, including at least 27 new cases from May 1996 to January 1997.Only two colleges — of 25 surveyed — correctly reported crime statistics as required by the law. Among the errors reported were: failure to include crimes reported to officials other than campus security, use of incorrect categories to report sexual offenses, failure to include information on hate crimes, excluding crime information reported to local police and providing only limited data on liquor, drug and weapons violations.The Department was over a year late in issuing a report on campus crime statistics to Congress, as required under the law. (See story this issue, “A crisis in campus crime reporting”.).Single copies of the report, Campus Crime: Difficulties Meeting Federal Reporting Requirements (Pub No.: GAO/HEHS-97-52) are free and available by calling the GAO at (202) 512-6000. GAO reports are also available on-line at: http://www.gao.gov.