U.S. Dept. of Education to hold regional public hearings on new campus crime law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Education is inviting comments and testimony in early December from those who will be affected by the recently enactedHigher Education Amendments. Among the provisions on which comments havebeen solicited are those expanding the requirements for the reporting ofcampus crime statistics by schools as well as the new requirement thatschools maintain an open campus police log. (Another important provisionof the new law that would allow schools to open up the outcome of campusdisciplinary proceedings involving crimes of violence are not a part ofthis round of comment.)

Hearings at which members of the public can testify are scheduled forDecember 4-5 in Washington, D.C., December 8-9 in Chicago and December11-12 in Los Angeles. Anyone can ask for 5 minutes to make a statement;sign-ups (first-come, first served) begin at 8:30 a.m. each morning.Written comments should be sent to Brian Kerrigan, U.S. Department ofEducation, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., ROB-3, Washington, DC 20202-5257, orfaxed to (202) 205-0786, or e-mailed to:hea98negotiated_rulemaking@ed.gov

This is a rare opportunity for members of the campus media to have a directimpact on their right of access to campus crime information under this newlaw. Student journalists and advisers can, for example, offer theirsupport for a broad definition of “campus security authorities,” to ensurethat crimes reported to any campus official will be included in crimestatistics, not just those reported to campus police or security. They canurge that the definition of “nature” and “general location” of criminalincidents that must be included in crime logs should be detailed so thatthey provide useful information to the public and the press. For moreideas about comments you might make, see those offered by the organizationSecurity on Campus.

For specific locations of the hearings or more details about the subjectmatter, see the Federal Register (volume 63, no. 215, pages 59922-59923,11/6/98), which is available on line from the U.S. Department of EducationWeb site.