Becoming more clear on the Clery Act

By Caroline Fernandez

I have been making an effort to step outside of my usual interests while choosing sessions. My thought is that while I want to deepen my knowledge of topics such as feature writing and design, I also want to get exposure to things I am not familiar with such as key laws, legislations and resources for journalists.

I attended a session by Sarah Gregory of SPLC (Student Press Law Center) where she discussed The Clery Act in-depth. The Clery Act basically requires colleges to disclose crime reports and statistics that occur on or near the campus. It came about in 1990 after the rape and murder of a college female. The parents of the victim pushed for the legislation because they said that if their daughter had known about the crimes on her campus her actions might have been different.

I was enlightened by the resources and opportunities the Clery Act gives us. Some of the points made also made me curious as to whether or not Elon police and administration abide by these rules. I’m interested to look into Elon actions in relation to the Clery Act.

Below is a quick summary of major resources and results of The Clery Act:

1. Dept. of Education – Ope.ed.gov/security

-A campus safety and security data analysis tool

2. Daily crime log 

-Requires up to date, fairly immediate reports by campus police in 48 hours or less

3. Timely notice

-When colleges know of immediate threat to campus they have to send out a timely notice

-All colleges have different definitions as to what is considered a timely notice, though. Some schools send out a timely notice for almost any offense/threat, while others have certain criteria the situation must meet for a notification to be sent out. This made me wonder where Elon stands. Are there reports and issues that Elon doesn’t send out timely notices for but the students and community would benefit from if a timely notice was sent out? Hhmm … I’ll get back to you on that one.

There were also strategies presented for detecting inaccuracies in annual reports, which I will bring back to The Pendulum and use in the future.

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