Moorhead, Va. Tech violate law

MINNESOTA, VIRGINIA — Moorhead State University in Minnesota and Virginia Polytechnic State University now share the distinction of being the first two schools found in violation of the Campus Security Act following compliance reviews by the U.S. Department of Education.The Campus Security Act mandates that all schools receiving federal funding must report crime statistics and make them readily available.Schools that do no comply can be penalized by the federal government.Both Moorhead State and Virginia Tech were issued final review reports in early July by the Department of Education regional offices responsible for each school.The results of the review of Moorhead State come three years after the filing of a complaint against the school, by Margaret Jacobson, a former Moorhead student.”We believe that the institution has not demonstrated a serious commitment to its obligations under the Campus Security Act and has discounted the seriousness of the issues raised by this office,” stated a letter to the university from the Department of Education’s Chicago case management team.The regional office that performs the review cannot impose sanctions on the school, but the final review findings will now be handed over the Department of Education’s Administrative Actions and Appeals Division (AAAD), which could penalize the university.Moorhead State will have the right to appeal a decision of the AAAD.The Department of Education has also recently informed Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University of compliance problems discovered in a review.The review for Virginia Tech was performed by the Region III division of the department, and began in September 1996.The complaint against Virginia Tech was filed by Christy Brzonkala, a student who charged two football players with raping her.Brzonkala’s claim stated that the university did not include the statistic of her rape as part of their yearly campus crime reports.According to the final review, “Va. Tech failed to accurately report crime statistics,” and “A review of Va. Tech’s Sept. 1, 1995, and Sept. 1, 1996, Campus Security Reports revealed several instances where statements of policy were omitted or were incomplete.”The two schools may not remain the only two schools to be found in violation of the Campus Security Act.Three other schools, Miami University of Ohio, Clemson University and the University of Pennsylvania are all currently being reviewed by the Department of Education.Jane Glickman, public affairs official for the department, said the department cannot comment about the three school reviews in progress.”We work with these schools to bring them into compliance,” she said.