The Clery Act is the governing regulation that requires institutions of higher education to release campus crime statistics and security policies and give timely warnings of crimes that represent a safety threat to students and employees. The law was named after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year old student who tragically, was raped and murdered in her campus residence hall in 1986.
Since the Clery Act was passed in 1990, several amendments have been enacted. The most recent amendment, passed in October 2009, has implications for the way that educational institutions address emergency response. One of the most notable changes was the addition of Section G, which mandates that higher education institutions develop, publish and test their emergency response procedures, and make them transparent to the public. As with any regulatory requirement, it means that compliance reporting is needed to avoid penalties and reduce the risk of litigation.
Complying with the new requirements of Clery will require some degree of resources and diligence, but at the end of the day minimum compliance is not really that complex. Most schools already have defined emergency response procedures and security solutions to support these processes, such as access control, fire alarms, panic buttons and CCTV. Many are also adding mass notification systems.
But as a parent of a college student, I would ask – should minimum compliance be the goal? Or should schools instead seize the opportunity to improve the way they document and test emergency response procedures? To look at campus security and safety in a broader way?
Solutions exist today to help campuses do exactly that. For example, PSIM solutions (such as NICE Situator) can integrate the many diverse security and safety systems and sensors used in campus environments. They can store standard operating procedures, and provide for adaptive response when the inevitable twist, the unexpected happens. Further, they can capture all of the alerts and subsequent actions taken, storing them for post event analysis and compliance reporting. They can even provide a simulation capability, so campuses can run annual emergency response tests in compliance with Clery, and keep staff sharp and well trained. But the value of such solutions extends far beyond Clery compliance reporting to help campuses take safety and security to a whole new level for their students, staff and communities.
If you want to learn more about Clery, you can have a listen to my recorded podcaston this subject, or read articles in the trade press. Campus Security Magazine is a good source and www.SecurityOnCampus.org is another web site dedicated to campus safety where you’ll find a great deal of information on the Clery Act and other campus security issues.
Is your campus in minimum compliance with Clery or are you looking to do more? Where do you stand on this important subject?