Education Department issues new rules for reporting campus crime

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Campus mental health and religiouscounselors will not have to disclose incidents revealed to themfor the purposes of compiling university crime statistics accordingto new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Educationon Monday.

The DOE’s campus security disclosure rules are designed to providecolleges and universities with directions for implementing changesmade last year by Congress to the Campus Security Act of 1990.

Under the new rules, university administrators, in additionto security and police officers, must report incidents they haveknowledge of as part of their school’s campus crime statisticseven if no arrests are made for these violations. For example,if a student is tried for a reportable offense, such as a sexualassault, by a campus court, that offense must be included in theschool’s crime statistics.

The exemption for counselors from reporting reflects concernsthat victims, particularly victims of sexual assault, would notseek help if they knew their information would be reported–albeitconfidentially–in campus crime statistics.

But other groups, such as Security on Campus and the Societyof Professional Journalists, had argued that it is possible forcounselors to provide statistical information on crimes they havelearned about without violating victims’ confidentiality.

The rules also require colleges to include crimes that occuron public property inside and adjacent to the campus in theirannual crime statistics. Schools also have the option of creatinga map to show the area for which crime statistics are reported,although they are not required to do so.