KENTUCKY — A state legislator introduced a bill Jan. 11 thatwould set criminal and civil penalties for colleges that fail to keep completecrime reports and make them available to the public.
Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, introduced the bill in response to thedeath of Michael Minger, a Murray State University sophomore who died ina 1998 arson incident at his dorm. In a lawsuit Minger’s parents filedagainst the university, they claim their son might have moved somewheresafer if he had known of an arson attempt in the dorm five days earlier.
Although there is a federal law requiring colleges and universitiesto maintain a campus police log that is open the the public, Wayne’s billimposes tougher sanctions on institutions that fail to comply. Campus officialswho violate the provisions of the law could be fined up to $1,500 and receivea 30-day jail sentence. The federal law, enforced by the Education Department,does not include any criminal penalties for noncompliance. Institutionsthat violate provisions of the federal crime report law, known as the CleryAct, could lose their federal funding.
In addition to providing penalties for institutions that fail to reportcampus crimes, Wayne’s legislation, which he hopes to call the MichaelMinger Act, requires colleges to send accurate year-end crime statisticsto the state Council on Postsecondary Education.
The text of the legislation can be found at http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/00rs/HB322.htm.