DOE fines college $25,000 for violating Campus Security Act

IOWA — Mount St. Clare College became the first schoolin the nation to be fined for Campus Security Act violations Fridaywhen the Department of Education ordered the college to pay $25,000.

The fine was levied after a March DOE reportfound the school in violation of the 1990 act, which requirescolleges and universities to disclose campus crime statisticsto students and faculty. The report said Mount St. Clare failedto include 15 incidents — including instances of aggravated assaultand burglary, as well as sexual and weapons offenses — in itscrime reports during a period between 1993 and 1998.

In a letter sent to Mount St. Clare informing the school ofthe decision, Mary Gust, acting director of the DOE’s AdministrativeActions and Appeals Division wrote, "The false picture MSCpresents is even more detrimental in light of the fact that theschool portrays itself as a ‘safe’ place to attend school."

A $15,000 portion of the fine was imposed for the college’sfailure to disclose the crime statistics, while the school wasordered to pay $5,000 for not providing campus security reportsto prospective students and another $5,000 for failing to providea complete statement of campus security policies.

Effie Hall, director of college relations at Mount St. Clare,said the school plans to appeal the fine.

"We are appealing the fine because Mount St. Clare feelsthat we did not do anything wrong intentionally," Hall said."The central issue is a difference of interpretation of theCampus Security Act. We also believe the regulations are ambiguous,and we feel that the fine is not fair or appropriate, nor is itconsistent with actions the Department of Education has takenin similar situations."

Hall said the college has until July 29 to file a brief statingits position, and the DOE must respond by Sept. 12.