New security disclosure rules require administrators to report campus crime

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New regulations issued by the U.S. Departmentof Education in November will require college and university administrators– not just campus police or security officers — to report offenses revealedto them in their institutions’ annual campus crime statistics.

The DOE said this new reporting requirement reflects “the reality thaton college campuses, officials who are not police officials … neverthelessare responsible for students’ or campus security.”

Under the new regulations, campus administrators with “significant responsibilityfor student and campus activities” will have to publicly report campuscrime statistics for incidents known to them.

S. Daniel Carter, vice president of Security on Campus, a nonprofitorganization dedicated to preventing campus violence, said the most significantaspect of the rules “is without question the increased recognition, andfurther clarification, that campus crime is often not dealt with by campuspolice but rather exclusively by administrators including student judicialaffairs administrators.”

“These regulations, and the preamble language, make it clear that deansof students, athletic coaches and student housing officials have to reportincidents for inclusion in annual campus crime statistics,” Carter said.

The DOE’s campus security disclosure rules are designed to provide two-and four-year colleges and universities with directions for implementingchanges made last year by Congress to the Campus Security Act of 1990.The regulations will go into effect in July 2000.

The DOE worked with various higher education constituencies, includingSecurity on Campus and the Society of Professional Journalists, to createthe regulations. Two of the most contentious issues involved whether counselorswould be required to report incidents revealed to them for campus crimestatistics and whether crime logs had to include the exact location ofa crime.

The DOE published a set of proposed regulations and asked for publiccomment on them. Most of the comments were submitted by college securityor police departments, but some were submitted by journalism organizationsand interested individuals.

All of the respondents were in favor of allowing schools to publishtheir campus crime statistics electronically and pushing back the reportingdate to Oct. 1. The vast majority of respondents were against requiringcounselors to report crimes.

Carter said that although Security on Campus believed counselors shouldbe required to report offenses revealed to them, the voluntary reportingprogram was a compromise.

“While it does not present as complete a picture of campus crime aswe had initially hoped for, it does reflect the reality of competing intereststhat were brought to bear, especially student access to counseling services,”he said.

Read the Student Media Guide to the Clery Act from this issue of the Report.