Campus working to comply with Clery Act

Graph detailing City College's recent Clery Act compliance. INFOGRAPHIC BY ALEX LUTHI / THE GUARDSMAN
Graph detailing City College's recent Clery Act compliance. INFOGRAPHIC BY ALEX LUTHI / THE GUARDSMAN

By Fleur Bailey and Alex Luthi

In response to an article in the March 11 issue of The Guardsman, City College has begun efforts to comply with a federal law mandating regular reporting of crimes on campus, according to college officials.

Peter Goldstein, vice chancellor of finance and administration, said the college is now in the process of recruiting three college employees to help keep the police department’s crime log up-to-date, a requirement of the Jeanne Clery Act, enforced by the Department of Education.

“We are getting three people trained so we feel assured we are complying with the act,” Goldstein said. “They will be working within the office [of the department of Public Safety]. As I said before, the law is the law and we have to comply.”

Rod Santos, acting dean of student affairs and public safety, confirmed that additional people will be working in the department to tackle the required reporting. “It’s very clear to me that we can’t have just one person doing [updating] this,” Santos said.

A crime log should be updated every two business days to comply with the act, officially called the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which requires colleges receiving federal funds to report crimes that happen on or near their campuses. The most recent entry to the San Francisco Community College District Police Department’s crime log is dated Feb. 12 2009.

Officer Christian Smith of the SFCCDPD is the only person currently updating the crime log on the department’s Web site. Smith said a lack of time is the reason for infrequent entries to the crime log. Santos plans to put Smith in charge of training the additional staff members to keep the log up-to-date.

“The current crime log has really been misnamed,” Smith said. “It’s more like a summary of reports. The new log won’t be as detailed, but it will comply with the act.”

The act is named after Jeanne Clery, a freshman at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn. who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986. It was established to inform students and the public about campus crime, so that students could protect themselves while on campus.

S. Daniel Carter is the director of public policy for Security On Campus, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to safety on campuses for college and university students. Carter said the organization is constantly working to ensure all federally-funded institutions across the U.S. are able to gain access to training for Clery Act compliance.

“We make the training for everyone — officers, non-police employees, security, civilians — so that more people will take it,” Carter said. “I can understand that an officer wants to be out in the field, I appreciate he may feel he’s being pulled in all different directions. But if the community is informed, they can be his power. The purpose of the Clery Act is to involve the whole community.”

San Francisco State University Police Department’s Web site is updated every night using a records management system implemented about a year and a half ago according to records supervisor Julie Shearer.

“The Department of Education Web site was not very helpful but I found a link to the Clery Act Web site, securityoncampus.org, and attended one of their training sessions in San Diego,” Shearer said.

In addition to keeping a daily crime log, the Clery Act requires colleges to collect and produce yearly statistics on different crimes occurring on and near campus, as well as producing crime alerts regarding ongoing threats to the college community.

“All I need is to get a few people trained and we can do it,” Santos said.

Editor’s note: The graphic used for the Clery Act story in the March 11 issue of The Guardsman may have confused readers by not clearly displaying the gathered data. An updated graphic is available at https://theguardsman.com/cleryact.

The Guardsman