College campuses should be safer come July, when new federal rules governing campus crime reporting are set to go into effect.

The U.S. Department of Education announced final rules last Friday for new provisions to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which ensures that universities comply with certain campus safety and security policies. The revisions were enacted as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in Congress, which included changes to the Clery Act.

“I am proud to say that now, teens and young adults will have better access to prevention and intervention programs to help break the cycle of violence around the country,” said Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, on the White House Blog.

The Clery Act requires universities that receive financial aid funding from the federal government to create and follow a set of policies regarding student safety. For example, a university must publish an annual security report, keep a public crime log, post crime statistics, develop procedures for emergency situations and prepare to handle reports of missing students, among other policies laid out in an almost 300-page Clery Act handbook.

Effective July 1, 2015, the changes include five additions to the law. Universities will be required to: record incidents of stalking based on the location where stalking took place or the location where the victim first realized he or she was being stalked; include gender identity and national origin as categories of bias that serve as hate crimes; describe the type of disciplinary action taken against people who have allegedly committed domestic and dating violence, sexual assault or stalking; include policies for preventing dating violence in their annual safety reports; and provide the accuser and the accused with the same opportunities during disciplinary committees.

Diane Brown, spokeswoman for the University’s Division of Public Safety and Security, said it won’t be difficult for the University to make some of these changes since it already had many of the new requirements in place as recently as Fall 2013, when the University’s sexual misconduct policy was updated — including stalking provisions and the inclusion of gender identity and national origin as classifications for hate crimes.

She added that there would be more training regarding sexual misconduct for students, faculty and staff coming this fall.

Representatives from the University’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, including Director Holly Rider-Milkovich, who was involved with a committee that developed the new policies, could not be reached for comment.

Brown said she and University Police will be working for the next several months to ensure that their policy is up to date.

“We certainly embrace the spirit of creating avenues to help our community members be informed about crime and safety issues reported to authorities, and if this is deemed helpful in that regard, so much the better,” she said.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.