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Brockport releases annual Clery Act report

by Breonnah Colon - Editor-In-Chief
Wed, Oct 10th 2018 12:00 pm

The College at Brockport released its annual Safety Report on Friday, Sept. 28. Students, faculty and staff attending the college received notification of the report as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, commonly referred to as the Clery Act. The email, sent by the administrative assistant to the Vice President, Chaley Swift, maintained links not only to the report, but also to information regarding campus safety. Information pertaining to the campus fire safety report was also presented in the mass email.

 The Clery Act is a federal statute that works to require publicly funded institutions and colleges to both maintain and disclose crime statistics and security information pertaining to a campus. Established and named after Jeanne Clery, a college student who was raped and murdered in her college dorm room, the Clery Act was created as an amendment to an already existing federal act. According to studentaid.ed.gov, the United States’ Department of Education reviews and evaluates different institutions on whether or not federal standards are being met. 

“A review may be initiated when a complaint is received, a media event raises certain concerns, the school’s independent audit identifies serious non compliance, or through a review selection process that may also coincide with state reviews performed by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) Audit Unit,” the site explains.

If these standards are not met after a review takes place, a college or institution could be met with punitive consequences in the form of fines. These reviews and audits are also open to the general public and can be found on the Department of Education’s website.

The Clery Act has been amended, undergoing updates to ensure better transparency between campus security and its community counterparts. The most recent amendment took place under the Obama administration, when Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The amendment is available for public disclosure and can be found at gpo.gov. This revision allowed for updates in the way crime is categorized, as well as updates in  definitions and better clarity pertaining to information that would be published in crime reports.

Upon following the link provided through Swift’s email, students and other members of the college community have access to reported criminal activity encompassing academic years at Brockport from as far back as 2015 until as recent as 2017. These figures are separated into several categories: on-campus property, public property, non-campus property and unfounded. Crimes noted as having taken place at an unfounded location are categorized as such by not being “included in Clery offense counts.”

The most prevalent instances of crime related activity, according to the report, pertained to alcohol, marijuana and sexual assault or rape. Sandra Vazques, Assistant Director and Senior Counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program has a mental health license and specializes in trauma counseling with a focus in sexual vicitmization. Vazquez was not surprised by the statistics presented in the report.

“[These crimes] often are intertwined, which makes reporting and sorting through the issues that much more complicated,” Vazquez wrote in an email. 

Vazquez went on to explain even though this transparency may be viewed as beneficial, it only scratches the surface of issues facing not just the campus, but society overall.

“[The recorded numbers] paints a facade of the true problem,” Vazquez wrote. “[The report] might communicate numbers that are not representative of the actual number of students that are impacted. There is fear in reporting [crimes committed against victims].”

Beyond information regarding the Clery Act and other safety precautions already in existence on campus, Swift’s email notified the Brockport community of security cameras being installed across campus.

“Safety and security cameras are being installed in various locations on campus such as the entryways of residence halls,” Swift wrote in the email. “The cameras provide another layer of safety and security for the College community, just as Blue Light Phones, Emergency Voice Notification System and RAVE Alerting systems currently do.”

Swift went on to note the cameras would not be “continuously monitored” by the Brockport University Police department. 

Although all students have access to the report, some are not aware of the information. Junior Charles Beach was unaware of the report, but considers the information pertinent. 

“[Knowing about the report] is very important because all crimes is important and factors into [how] instituions [function,” Beach said. “No matter if it’s a college campus or not, it’s part of the public and people should know about it.”

Students, faculty or staff  interested in the details provided by the newly published crime report can access the digital copy provided through Swift’s email or request a hard copy of the report from the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

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