Each year, any school receiving federal student aid is required to submit an Annual Security Report (ASR) to the Department of Education by October 1. There are typically minor changes in reporting standards each year, but the 2015 ASR will need to reflect one of the most massive Clery Act changes in years. With the passing of the final regulations to VAWA, and specifically to the Campus SaVE provisions as they pertain to the Clery Act, presidents, provosts and anyone responsible for compiling crime statistics will have a whole new set of statistics to report. Essentially, there is an entirely new area of crime reporting as mandated by the Clery Act reporting changes under VAWA. Let’s first look at the traditional structure.
In the past ,there were 3 key areas of crime reporting:
Part 1 – Crimes
This includes any major crimes from murder to robbery, burglary, assault, sexual assault (forcible or non-forcible) motor vehicle theft and arson.
Part 2 – Arrests for Reportable Referrals for Discipline
Part two crimes include any incident where someone was referred for discipline without being brought up on charges. Most notably, these include: discipline for weapons, drugs and alcohol violations.
Part 3 – Hate Crimes
This essentially includes any Part 1 crime (plus simple assault, intimidation, or destruction of property) when committed based on bias.
Before the changes, you could maintain the same statistical log and update it each year with the new data (keeping the previous 2 years as well as you’re required to report previous 3 calendar years).
With the final regulations to VAWA, however, there is now a part four:
Part 4 – Violence Against Women Act violations, which include:
For reference, you can use the VAWA definitions of these crimes.
There are two main challenges to reporting on these additional crimes:
- Determining which bucket each crime fits into (example: does an act of dating violence fall under Part 1 or Part 4…or even Part 3?)
- Collection of crime statistics on these new areas that may not have been collected in years past. Remember, you are required to report up to three years of crime statistics so a stalking charge from two years ago that might not have made it onto your ASR is now required.
Overcoming these challenges will take careful review of both the Clery Handbook and VAWA regulations, as well as going over years of past crimes to report anything that is now required. The best method for getting started in the process is to clearly define how each crime will be reported by creating an easy-to-use checklist. Secondly, you will need to work with Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) and local law enforcement to review all crimes over the past three years to determine what, if anything, wasn’t previously reported that now needs to be.
An additional tip for complying with reporting requirements:
The Clery Act also mandates that crime statistics reporting be made available to the general public for informed decision-making. Higher Ed Hero recommends having a page on your website located at a static URL that can be updated each year when you compile your ASR. This will make the information available for anyone that wants to review it, complying with the reporting requirement.
Remember that violating Clery Act reporting can lead to audits, sanctions and costly fines. Don’t wait until it’s too late – start working on your revised ASR to ensure it meets the new requirements today. The October 1st deadline will be here before you know it.
We hope you found this article from Higher Ed Hero helpful. If you are looking to review your ASR to ensure compliance, please join us for the upcoming training and online workshop:
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Kevin – Higher Ed Hero