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Safety Matters: Ask about the Clery Act at students’ colleges

BUFFALO — With your college kids or grandkids situated back on their campuses, or even if they are studying locally, now is a good time to inquire about the Clery Act at the school your loved one is attending.

The act is a federal mandate requiring all institutions of higher education that participate in federal student financial aid programs to disclose information about crime on their campuses and in the surrounding communities.

The Clery Act, formerly known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, was signed in 1990. It is named after 19-year-old Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her university residence hall in 1986.Clery’s parents lobbied Congress to enact the law, when they discovered students at their daughter’s college had not been notified about 38 violent crimes ,that had occurred on campus in the three years prior to Clery’s murder.

The Clery Act requires IHEs to provide timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees and to make their campus security policies available to the public.

The act also requires IHEs to collect, report and disseminate crime data to everyone on campus and to the department of education, annually. To be in full compliance with the law, IHEs must do the following:

1. Publish and distribute an Annual Campus Security Report to current and prospective students and employees, by Oct. 1 of each year.

The report must provide crime statistics for the past three years, detail campus and community policies about safety and security measures, describe campus crime prevention programs and list procedures to be followed in the investigation and prosecution of all alleged sex offenses.

2. Provide students and employees with timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to their safety. IHE police or security departments must also keep a detailed public crime log, of all crimes reported to them in the past 60 days.

Crime logs must be kept for seven years and logs older than 60 days must be made available within two business days, upon request.

3. Keep the past three years of crime statistics detailing crimes that have occurred: on campus; in IHE residential facilities; in public areas, on or near campus; and in certain non-campus buildings, such as fraternities/sororities and remote classrooms.

Schools must also report liquor and drug law violations and illegal weapons possession, if they result in a disciplinary referral or arrest.

I urge you to take a look at this report next month, at your child’s college. The log can be accessed during business hours. at the school. Knowledge is power.

The more we can educate our young adults about their surroundings, the better off, and hopefully safer, they are.


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