Dept. of Education OK’s campus reporting at University of California schools

After a two-and-a-half year investigation, the Department ofEducation determined that the University of California system no longerunderreports crime on its campuses.

The department finished itsinvestigation March 31, announcing that the system and its individual campuseshad retooled their crime reporting policies and had brought them into compliancewith the federal Clery Act.

The Clery Act, passed in 1990 as the “StudentRight-to-Know and Campus Security Act,” requires colleges and universities toannually publish campus crime statistics for the three previous years. It alsorequires the school to maintain a daily incident log and to issue “timelywarnings” of crimes that present an ongoing threat to the campuscommunity.

The investigation was prompted by a series of articlespublished by The Sacramento Bee in September 2000 that detailed theunderreporting of campus crimes throughout the university system. Followingnewspaper coverage, the campus safety organization, Security on Campus, filed aformal complaint with the DOE.

Originally, the university system hadunderreported crimes by limiting the statistics to those that met the formalcriminal law definitions instead of the Clery Act definition.

The systemhad also misidentified “campus security authorities,” had not reported somecrimes where it was believed that the report could identify the victim and maynot have included data on sexual assaults from all relevantsources.

University of California spokesperson Charles McFadden said thatcampus officials originally had to deal with several ways of classifying crimeas well as ambiguous definitions of how far a “campus” extended.

“TheClery Act is a complicated piece of legislation and has been subject to varyinginterpretations,” he said. “The accusation against the UC system from SecurityOn Campus and the Bee story caused us to reexamine our compliance, and wedid.”