Study: ECSU Was ‘Substantially Out of Compliance’ With Clery Act
Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) officials didn’t understand Clery Act requirements, lacked the systems, processes and trained staff to ensure compliance, and failed to develop a culture that would ensure compliance with the law, claims a report released yesterday by a campus public safety consulting firm.
The assessment by Margolis Healy was prompted by the discovery that ESCU campus police failed to investigate as many as 126 crime reports — including 18 sexual assault reports — dating back to 2007.
The report recommends ECSU:
- Formally charter a campus-wide Clery Coordinating Committee, comprised of key stakeholders who have Clery Act responsibilities, to oversee the implementation of the recommendations in this report and on-going efforts to ensure compliance.
- Begin a comprehensive evaluation of Clery Act-required policies and develop, review and implement the new policies and related procedures as soon as possible.
- Develop and implement an aggressive training plan to ensure all key ECSU employees are appropriately oriented to the Clery Act and their specific obligations.
- Designate a Clery Compliance Coordinator to mange and oversee compliance activities.
- Task the Clery Coordinating Committee with correcting the content problems in the Annual Security Report.
In response to the report, ESCU officials say they have implemented the following initiatives:
- Appointed an interim Clery Coordinator to manage all compliance efforts related to the Clery Act; and established a new Clery Compliance Committee to continuously monitor, review, and implement Clery Act programs and regulations.
- Developed a new Campus Safety Website that contains campus safety information required under the Clery Act; established a Student Rights, Responsibilities and Complaints webpage; updated the University Police webpage with more information related to campus safety policies and procedures that are coordinated by University Police; and posted a Daily Crime and Fire Log on the University Police webpage to inform the campus community of crimes and fires on campus.
- Created and updated four policies related to campus safety: (1) Emergency Response and Evacuation Notification Policy; (2) Timely Warning Policy; (3) Missing Student Policy; and (4) revised Sexual Assault Policy.
- Published a new Annual Safety and Fire Security Report.
- Updated the Emergency Operations Plan to include more information related to emergency drill procedures and other emergency notification requirements;
- Evaluated and updated the university’s emergency notification system (ECSU ALERT) that alerts students, faculty, and staff of imminent dangers via text and email.
- Updated the university’s online student and employee database (Banner system) and campus housing contracts to include required missing student contact information in accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act.
- Established stronger relationships with local law enforcement through Memorandum of Understanding agreements.
- Created a Clery Act training module for all Campus Security Authorities; implemented individualized and campus-wide mandatory training for all faculty and staff to ensure they are fully aware of Clery Act responsibilities and are able to respond appropriately; Established Clery liaisons for each department on campus to ensure Clery Act compliance efforts are implemented and monitored at the departmental level.
- Updated ECSU’s Clery geography in accordance with the Clery Act.
The school has also vowed to continue making improvements so that it will be in compliance with the Clery Act.
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