Colleges collaborate on efforts to stay in compliance with Clery Act
Where can administrators go for ideas and answers to questions about Clery Act compliance? Soon, it may be easier to learn what peers are up to in this area. On July 1, the Clery Center for Security On Campus launched the new year-long Collaborative Learning Program. Representatives from 34 Pennsylvania institutions can learn about Clery together and self-assess their compliance efforts, says Alison Kiss, executive director for the Clery Center.
Topics include putting together the annual security report, forming sexual assault response teams, and implementing Title IX in partnership with subject matter experts in higher education law, student affairs, and campus safety.
“A lot of the training is virtual, but there will also be some face-to-face—a blend of us going to the institutions or them coming to the center,” Kiss says.
If the program is effective, it will launch nationwide in January 2014. Participants will send five-person teams, which could include security and housing personnel, student representatives, and employees of other relevant departments.
Brent Oberholtzer, director of public safety for participant Lebanon Valley College (Pa.), says he expects the program will lower costs at each institution. It also will improve reporting accuracy, “as we move forward with the ever-changing rules and regulations,” he adds.
Oberholtzer’s office is responsible for reporting Clery crimes and fire incidents in both a daily log and the “Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.” He says when he was hired in 2011 he had little knowledge of the Clery requirements, but training by an outside provider helped him gain a better understanding, as did reaching out to public safety colleagues at other institutions. He anticipates the pilot program will facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practices among institutions, and help in communicating with other Clery Act stakeholders on his campus.
“Everyone is busy with their normal job description tasks,” says Oberholtzer. “So finding ways to communicate about their other responsibility, Clery reporting, will always be key for him, he says.
“Whether at the official campus security authority session during resident assistant training, or a gentle reminder to the head of the athletic department that the coaching staffs are CSAs, each communication can only help in gathering data.”