The Clery Act, a federal statute requiring colleges and universities to keep and disclose information about crime around campus, was recently amended with the passage of 2013’s Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) to include requirements about reports on sexual violence cases.
This news meant change for our campus police department. Sgt. Jeffrey Daberko, who has been with the department since 2006, has witnessed how federal policies change the ways the department must handle campus issues. He says that VAWA’s biggest changes come in the Annual Campus Safety and Fire Safety Report.
“The function of the report is two-fold,” said Daberko. “It’s to inform students, prospective students, and parents about what’s going on on campus. It’s also to met the federal requirements that the Department of Education puts through.”
The report includes alcohol, weapons and drug offenses, burglary and robbery reports, and auto theft. It was also modified in 2008 to include reports of fires and missing persons. With the VAWA’s new requirements, the report will also include incidents of stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault. It also says that universities must carefully outline their disciplinary proceedings for these issues.
The act also adds gender identity and national origin to the list of biases that can serve as the determination of a hate crime.
The VAWA also brought large format changes to the report, including adding pages to an already lengthy document. Still, Daberko stressed that it is important for the campus community to read.
“When you start publishing something that’s 30-something pages, then the odds that people are actually going to read it probably go down,” he said.
He said that it is important to pay attention to the report, because it outlines procedures for students to follow if they are in trouble or need to make a police report themselves.
The act will officially be effective on July 1, 2015, but since it was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 20, the U.S. Department of Education stressed that the changes are effective immediately. Since our annual report was released on Oct. 1, the police department was advised to include as much information as possible. The next report will include all of the new requirements.
“By next year in the 2015 report, it’s all going to be spelled out,” Daberko said. “If you choose not to be involved in the police process but you want to file some sort of complaint, you have to go through the student judicial process. [The procedure] has to be spelled out. You’ll know exactly what you’ll have to do.”
CWRU’s 2014 report is currently available on the police department’s website.