Although some campuses may already have mass notification and emergency communications systems in place and have adhered to new amendments passed in 2008 which went into effect July 1, 2010 under the auspices of The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, others are still trying to figure out their role. Last month, school officials, campus police and others gathered at Northwestern University in Chicago for a Clery Act Training Seminar presented by Security On Campus Inc., King Of Prussia, Pa., a national non-profit campus security organization focused on the prevention of college and university campus crime and victim assistance.
The two-day seminar covered the new regulations and policies of the Annual Security Report (668.46) that campuses have to include in their report by October 1, 2010 and also those of the Annual Fire Safety Report (668.49), also due October 1, 2010.
"The Annual Security Report and the Annual Fire Report may be published together or separately," explained Paul D. Martin, president of the Center for Campus Fire Safety. As cited in the Federal Register of October 29, 2009 published by The Department of Education, the two reports can be published together "as long as the title of the document clearly states that it contains both the annual security report and the fire safety report. If an institution chooses to publish the reports separately, it would have to include information in each of the two reports about how to directly access the other documentation."
According to Martin, the fire safety report mandates that campuses must maintain a fire log that records any fire that occurred in an on-campus student housing facility; and an entry or addition to an entry must be made within two business days. In accordance with the legislation, other requirements to be disclosed in the report include the number of regular, mandatory, supervised fire drills held during the previous calendar year; procedures for student housing evacuation in the event of a fire; and a list of the titles of each person or organization to which students and employees should report that a fire has occurred.
Clarifying the concept
"The Clery Act, originally the Campus Security Act, has always existed as part of the larger Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965," explained S. Daniel Carter, director of Public Policy, Security On Campus. "The requirement that institutions comply with the Clery Act is and always has been tied to their eligibility to receive federal funds under the HEA. The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) amended many parts of the HEA including Clery. While new emergency response requirements were added directly into Clery, the campus fire safety provisions were added separately to the HEA by the HEOA."
Campuses must include a statement of policy within their Annual Security Report, regarding emergency response and evacuation procedures, among which the following criteria must be included, according to the legislation:
"The procedures the institution will use to immediately notify the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus; and
A description of the process the institution will use to confirm that there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation; determine the appropriate segment or segments of the campus community to receive a notification; determine the content of the notification; and initiate the notification system."
Any institution that provides on-campus student housing must also include a statement within the report regarding its missing student notification policy and procedures for those that reside in on-campus student housing facilities.