New security disclosure rules require administrators to report campus crime

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education in November will require college and university administrators -- not just campus police or security officers -- to report offenses revealed to them in their institutions' annual campus crime statistics.

The DOE said this new reporting requirement reflects "the reality that on college campuses, officials who are not police officials ... nevertheless are responsible for students' or campus security."

Under the new regulations, campus administrators with "significant responsibility for student and campus activities" will have to publicly report campus crime statistics for incidents known to them.

S. Daniel Carter, vice president of Security on Campus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing campus violence, said the most significant aspect of the rules "is without question the increased recognition, and further clarification, that campus crime is often not dealt with by campus police but rather exclusively by administrators including student judicial affairs administrators."

"These regulations, and the preamble language, make it clear that deans of students, athletic coaches and student housing officials have to report incidents 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 implementing changes 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, including Security on Campus and the Society of Professional Journalists, to create the regulations. Two of the most contentious issues involved whether counselors would be required to report incidents revealed to them for campus crime statistics and whether crime logs had to include the exact location of a crime.

The DOE published a set of proposed regulations and asked for public comment on them. Most of the comments were submitted by college security or police departments, but some were submitted by journalism organizations and interested individuals.

All of the respondents were in favor of allowing schools to publish their campus crime statistics electronically and pushing back the reporting date to Oct. 1. The vast majority of respondents were against requiring counselors to report crimes.

Carter said that although Security on Campus believed counselors should be required to report offenses revealed to them, the voluntary reporting program was a compromise.

"While it does not present as complete a picture of campus crime as we had initially hoped for, it does reflect the reality of competing interests that 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.

reports, Winter 1999-2000