Does Your Annual Security Report Make the Grade?
The Clery Center’s June 22 virtual workshop will help multiple departments on campus learn their roles in putting together ASRs.
Summer is the time when most college students take a break from their studies, but for college campus public safety officials responsible for compiling their institutions’ annual security reports (ASRs), their work is just beginning.
The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to create and disseminate an ASR by Oct. 1 of each year. An institution’s ASR reflects the safety and security policies and efforts of individuals across multiple departments on campus. Under the Clery Act, many of these individuals fall into the category of “campus security authorities” (CSAs), and they are required to report specific crimes disclosed to them by victims, witnesses or other third parties.
RELATED: Clery Annual Security Report Basics
A common misunderstanding is that the ASR and Clery compliance in general are only the responsibilities of the campus public safety and security department. In reality, Clery compliance is an institutional responsibility that requires collaboration among many stakeholders. Without proper communication between departments, information can be missing or be misrepresented.
Although one department may coordinate the ASR efforts, it is important for all individuals contributing to the ASR to understand what information must be captured in the report.
Who Is a Campus Security Authority?
There are four different groups of individuals who are considered CSAs:
- A campus police or security department
- Individuals who have responsibility for campus security but don’t constitute a police or security department (like an access monitor)
- Any individual specified in an institution’s policies as someone to whom students and employees can report crimes
- An official of the institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities.
“The last category is typically the broadest and captures individuals such as a dean of students, a coach or an advisor to a student group,” says Abby Boyer, who is the associate executive director of programs for the Clery Center for Security on Campus. “CSAs are determined by function, so titles can vary from campus to campus. Colleges and universities must consider who within their campus communities would fit within the definition of a CSA and ensure that CSAs understand their role and know how to share information if a crime is reported to them.”
Beyond just the scope of putting together an annual security report, Boyer says CSAs are critical because they are often the network in which information comes into institutions and a core connection to making sure the campus community has access to information and resources.
“Their reports not only influence the crime statistics reflected within an annual security report, they also impact ongoing requirements, such as whether a timely warning is sent to the campus community or the rights or options are afforded to survivors,” she adds.
CSA Roles Vary
A CSA’s role in developing the ASR can vary depending on their role on campus. For example, an institution’s Title IX coordinator is also a CSA. Because of the intersecting requirements between the Clery Act and Title IX, Title IX coordinators typically play a key role in developing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking policies and procedures. They might also provide insight on how these policies are reflected within an institution’s ASR.
“The policy statements captured within the annual security report [shortened summaries of campus policies with specific required elements] intersect with a number of different departments, including campus police/security, student affairs, student conduct and counseling, just to name a few,” says Boyer. “Individuals within these departments may play a role in drafting the policy statements required within the ASR or in reviewing ASR language to make sure it reflects current policies and practices.”
Virtual Workshop Provides ASR Training
It is critical then for those involved in developing or implementing these policies receive training on their roles in creating ASRs. That’s why the Clery Center for Security On Campus will be holding a virtual workshop on compiling annual security reports on Wednesday, June 22 at 1 p.m. (Eastern). To register for the online course, visit http://clerycenter.org/asr-virtual-workshop.
Specifically, participants will:
- Watch a recorded session reviewing necessary components of the annual security report
- Submit specific questions related to compilation of the ASR for further analysis during a live session with Clery Act experts. (Participants can also ask questions during the session itself.)
- Participate in a live session with instructors.
- Develop an action plan for campus development of the annual security report, including engagement of multiple departments on campus.
Workshop recipients will get:
- Access to the recorded and live sessions
- Opportunity to ask specific questions for your ASR development process in real time with subject matter experts
- A comprehensive annual security report planning document
“Our hope is that anyone who is playing a role in putting together the ASR will find the workshop helpful in clarifying what must be captured within the report and how their individual roles can support these efforts,” Boyer says. “Multidisciplinary teams will find it incredibly useful as it gives them a chance to come together as a team to identify their goals in putting together the report and a planning document to develop specific action items for doing so.”