Crime Reporting Obligations for Campus Security Authorities
What is the Clery Act?
What is a Campus Security Authority (CSA) and how do I know if I am one?
What does being a CSA mean?
What do I need to report?
What are Clery Act incidents?
What is our Clery Act geography?
What locations are not included in our Clery Act geography?
What do I do if a criminal incident occurred on our Clery Act geography – how do I make a report?
Do I need to witness the criminal incident first hand?
When do I need to report the criminal incident to the Police?
What if I'm not sure if a crime has actually occurred?
What if the information I have is second or third hand – do I still need to report?
What is “good faith”?
If I make a report, does this mean that a police investigation will be initiated?
If a student reported something to me in confidence, do I still need to report the incident for Clery Act purposes?
Is this the same as the reporting of sexual assault/harassment that I have to do under the Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy?
What is sexual violence?
What shouldn’t a CSA do?
What fines and/or sanctions could William & Mary face if I fail to report an incident?
What sanctions could I face, if I fail to make a report?
Each university employee designated as a Campus Security Authority is subject to the university’s Crime Reporting Policy. A Campus Security Authority is defined in the federal regulation as any individual with significant responsibility for student and campus activity, including but not limited to student housing, student discipline, and judicial proceedings. Many W&M employees, including most faculty, have been designated as CSAs by the head of their unit or school (often a VP or a Dean) in consultation with the Office of Compliance & Policy.
This Policy requires each Campus Security Authority to report to William & Mary Police when he or she becomes aware of information that indicates that a Clery Act incident may have occurred. Clery Act incidents include sex offenses, robbery, other violent crimes (such as dating and domestic violence), drug abuse violations and liquor law violations that result in either an arrest or a disciplinary referral, and so-called “hate crimes”; more information is available in Appendix A to the Crime Reporting Policy.
The reporting requirement is triggered by the location where the incident occurred. It only applies to criminal incidents occurring
- on campus. For Clery Act purposes, W&M has several campuses:( 1) the main, Williamsburg campus, (2) the Washington, D.C. campus, (3) the VIMS campus and (4) the Newport News campus. "On campus" includes all residence halls and all other property owned or controlled by W&M.
- on public property adjacent to and accessible from on-campus property. This means sidewalks and streets adjacent to one of the W&M campuses.
- on off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by William & Mary. Typically, criminal incidents are included in the Crime Report only if the off-campus property is frequently used by students.
The reporting obligation arises when the Campus Security Authority becomes aware of information or allegations of criminal behavior; the Campus Security Authority may not wait for criminal charges to be brought, arrests to be made, etc. Similarly, the Campus Security Authority should not attempt to prove or decide whether the alleged incident actually occurred. The Campus Security Authority employee must report even if the information regarding the incident was shared with him or her in confidence (confidentially), although he or she may report the information without identifying the people involved in the incident -- unless the incident was sexual violence. This means that a CSA can report a Clery Act crime without giving identifying information about the reported or suspected victim or perpetrator, unless the crime is sexual violence. This is because the Clery Act reporting obligation is not about who committed a crime -- it is about where and when criminal incidents occurred. The special rule for sexual violence arises from a Virginia law explained in the FAQs.
CSAs receive a memorandum notifying them of their reporting obligations.
The crime information must be reported to the William & Mary Police, except for incidents of sexual violence, which must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. The Police can answer questions about the reporting requirements and determine whether the incident in question is a Clery Act crime or occurred on property controlled by the university.
The U.S. Department of Education enforces the Clery Act, and publishes a helpful Clery Act Handbook [pdf] .
Detailed Guidance -- FAQs
These FAQs were last updated in June 2015 by the Chief Compliance Officer
What is the Clery Act? The “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act” is a federal law that requires institutions of higher education in the United States to disclose campus security information (including crime statistics and information about safety-related policies). It was first enacted by Congress in 1990 and amended a number of times since. Jeanne Clery was a student who was murdered and sexually assaulted in her residence hall room by another student she didn't know. Her school hadn't informed students about 38 violent crimes on campus in the prior three years. Jeanne’s parents led the crusade to enact the law.
What is a Campus Security Authority (CSA) and how do I know if I am one? The university notifies those employees who are CSAs. All employees with responsibility for campus and student activities are CSAs. The term “responsibility” is interpreted broadly, so that most employees who interact with students in any position of authority are CSAs. For example, if you are a full-time faculty member, a coach, a resident assistant/head resident/area coordinator, or an advisor for a student group, you probably are a CSA.
What do I need to report? You need to report (a) certain criminal activity known as “Clery Act incidents” (b) that you become aware of (c) occurring on certain property designated as our “Clery Act geography.” The reporting requirement is triggered by the location where the incident occurred. It only applies to criminal incidents occurring in William & Mary’s Clery Act geography.
What are Clery Act incidents? Clery Act incidents include sex offenses, robbery, other violent crimes, and so-called “hate crimes”; the full list and definitions are provided in Appendix A to the Crime Reporting Policy. (Drug abuse violations and liquor law violations that result in either an arrest or a disciplinary referral also need to be reported, but this information is most reliably collected from the Dean of Students Office, which handles disciplinary cases against students; other CSAs are not required to report drug and liquor law violations.)
- Campus property. For Clery Act purposes, W&M has several campuses: (1) the main, Williamsburg campus, (2) the Washington, D.C. campus, (3) the VIMS campus and (4) the Newport News campus. Campus property includes grounds and buildings. The main campus includes the Law School, the Business School, and the School of Education, as well as all the residence halls including the Grad Complex. Because most William & Mary CSAs work on the main campus, these FAQs focus on main-campus property. Additional information relevant to the other campuses is available through the Office of Compliance & Policy.
- Public property adjacent to and accessible from on-campus property. This means sidewalks and streets adjacent to one of the W&M campuses. Adjacent to means those streets and sidewalks immediately bordering the campus – not streets a block away, for example. It also does not include property that is not accessible from the on-campus property; for example if there is a fence between the campus property and the non-campus sidewalk, the sidewalk may not be within our Clery Act geography. Examples of adjacent public property include:
- Richmond Road and its sidewalks on those portions of the road that border campus
- Jamestown Road and its sidewalks on those portions of the street that are adjacent to the campus.
- South Henry Street and its sidewalks on those portions of the street that are adjacent to the Law School and the tennis center.
- Rolfe Road and its sidewalks on those portions of the street that are adjacent to Ludwell dorms.
- Non-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by William & Mary that is used in direct support of, or in relation to, the institution’s educational purposes, and is frequently used by students. This category includes, for example:
- Certain overseas locations including those used for study abroad programs identified by the Reves Center as meeting the definition of control of specific space for the time period of the program. Additional information about overseas and other non-campus property is available through the Office of Compliance & Policy.
- Those portions of buildings leased by William & Mary for use as office space in New Town.
- Off-campus sites for internships, externships, clinical training or student teaching, where the agreement is limited to the program rather than for use of the physical space.
- Field trips or overnight, school-sponsored trips that do not meet the frequently-used-by-students criterion, generally for periods greater than two weeks.
- Public property adjacent to non-campus property owned or controlled by William & Mary, such as Ironbound Road bordering the New Town buildings leased by William & Mary.
What do I do if a criminal incident occurred on our Clery Act geography – how do I make a report? A CSA needs to file a report with the William & Mary Police Department when he or she becomes aware of information that indicates that a Clery Act incident is occurring or may have occurred on campus, adjacent to campus, or in a non-campus location, unless the incident is an act of sexual violence. Sexual violence must by reported to the Title IX Coordinator. The William & Mary Police Department is designated as the official collector of crime report information for all our campuses.
If the incident is happening real-time and constitutes an emergency, dial 911 immediately from a campus phone or push the button of an outdoor emergency phone. Immediately inform the communications officer of your location and nature of the emergency. Police will be dispatched to the location.
If it is information about a crime that is not currently in progress, contact the Police Department by phone at 757-221-4596 or in person at the Police and Parking Office, 201 Ukrop Way, Williamsburg campus. When you contact the William & Mary Police Department, be prepared to provide a short description of the incident including:
- date and time of occurrence or approximate time frame
- specific location or location to the nearest address/point possible
- individuals involved if it is not an anonymous reporting situation
When describing the general nature of the incident, it is not necessary to identify a specific Clery crime definition. The communications officer will ask for the needed initial information and a police officer will follow-up for any additional needed detail for clarification and possible investigation. You can start with general terms, such as:
- “I think an assault occurred between 2 students”
- “I was told that someone holding a knife robbed a student on campus and while doing it called the student a derogatory name based on his sexual orientation.”
- “I heard students talking about a possible rape that happened last night on campus.”
It is likely an officer will want to talk with you in person to ensure a proper police report. This is routine and will be done with consideration to your schedule and availability.
Do I need to witness the criminal incident first hand? No, the reporting obligation arises when you, a Campus Security Authority, become aware of information or allegations of criminal behavior. Awareness can be either through witnessing the criminal conduct or having criminal activity reported to you by a victim, bystander, or other person.
When do I need to report the criminal incident to the Police? You should report the criminal incident to the authorities in a timely manner. In non-emergency situations (e.g. not a serious and ongoing threat), CSAs should report promptly given the circumstances. For CSAs in non-campus locations, especially abroad, that may not be possible until your return to the Williamsburg campus. Obviously, in emergency situations, contact local law enforcement wherever you may be. Do not wait for criminal charges to be brought, arrests to be made, etc.
What if I'm not sure if a crime has actually occurred? You should still report. It is not your job to decide whether there is enough evidence or if all the elements of a crime occurred; if you have information that reasonably appears like a Clery Act incident, report it. You should also remember that attempted crimes must be reported.
What if the information I have is second or third hand – do I still need to report? Yes, you need to report. The only times you don’t have to report information about a Clery Act incident are (1) if you have reason to believe that the report or allegation of criminal conduct is not made in good faith or (2) if you are reasonably certain that the incident has already been reported. This means, for example, if a student tells you that his girlfriend was raped on campus, you need to report that information. Do not try to make the student or his girlfriend call the Police. To pick another example, if an employee tells you that a local resident, who was visiting campus, was mugged behind one of the academic buildings, you need to report that. On the other hand, if your supervisor shares with you information about an incident where a student attacked another student with a knife and your supervisor tells you that he already called the Police, you do not need to make a second report.
What is “good faith”? If you have good reason to doubt the validity of the information – for example if you think someone is deliberately spreading a rumor – you could conclude that the report was not made in good faith. If you have reason to believe that information you’ve received about an incident is not made in good faith, you do not need to report it.
Please be very cautious in deciding that an incident is not in good faith, particularly if the incident is sexual violence. There are many reasons why a report of sexual violence may sound implausible; for example, the impact of trauma on memory and affect may make a victim act in a way that is different from what you expect. If you receive information about an incident of sexual violence on our Clery Act geography, report it to the Title IX Coordinator. If you have doubts about the validity of the information, share them rather than deciding not to report.
If I make a report, does this mean that a police investigation will be initiated? No. Although we strongly encourage victims of any crime to report incidents and seek assistance through legal channels whenever possible, a report from a CSA will not necessarily result in a police investigation. There are many reasons why a report might not result in a law enforcement action. For example, in many cases the Police will not initiate an investigation without victim assistance. As another example, if a report is about an incident that occurred outside of the William & Mary Police’s jurisdiction, they may refer the matter to the appropriate police, but those police may not deem the matter to warrant an investigation.
If a student reported something to me in confidence, do I still need to report the incident for Clery Act purposes? Yes. All incidents which meet the criteria described above must be reported to the William & Mary Police for statistical collection purposes. Reports may, however, be filed without providing the name of the victim.
Only those CSAs who are professional mental health and pastoral counselors are exempt from the requirement to report, and only if they learn of the Clery Act incident while acting as a professional mental health counselor or pastoral counselor, respectively. Counselors may encourage the student to make a voluntary anonymous report to the W&M Police, on a confidential basis, for inclusion in the annual disclosure of crime statistics.
Is this the same as the reporting of sexual assault/harassment that I have to do under the Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy? It is related. Sexual assaults are Clery Act crimes that you must report under the Crime Reporting Policy. Under our Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy you -- all faculty and staff (other than confidential resources such as professional counselors acting in that capacity) -- are considered a "responsible employee." Responsible employees must report to the Title IX Coordinator (1) sexual violence against W&M students, and (2) sexual violence occuring on our Clery Act geography of which they become aware. If the Clery Act incident you need to report is an act of sexual violence, reporting it to the Title IX Coordinator satisfies your reporting obligation.
More information about reporting sexual assault and other Title IX violations is available online at www.wm.edu/titleix/guidance .
What is sexual violence? Sexual violence is defined by state law as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Non-consensual sexual intercourse – what you might think of as rape, although that is a criminal term that we do not use in our policies – is a form of sexual violence. The special reporting protocol for sexual violence -- which is to report to the Title IX Coordinator rather than the W&M Police and to report all information including names -- is required by Virginia Code 23-9.2:15. This law, effective July 1, 2015, is designed to ensure that sexual violence receives an appropriate response and that victims are supported.
- The CSA should not attempt to prove or decide whether the alleged incident actually occurred—that is the job of law enforcement.
- The CSA is not required to be a neighborhood monitor or to actively seek out crime information such as by reading crime blogs.
- It is not the CSA’s responsibility to try and convince a victim to contact law enforcement if the victim chooses not to do so. The CSA should support the victim's choice, and, if the victim is a W&M student, offer to accompany the victim to make a report either to the W&M Police or other police with jurisdiction. (If the CSA cannot him or herself accompany the student, the CSA can help find a W&M administrator who can help the student by contacting the Dean of Students.)
What fines and/or sanctions could William & Mary face if I fail to report an incident? The United States Department of Education is charged with enforcing the Jeanne Clery Act and may level civil penalties against institutions of higher education up to $35,000 per violation or may suspend them from participating in federal student financial aid programs.
What sanctions could I face, if I fail to make a report? Under the Crime Reporting Policy, CSAs who fail to report Clery Act incidents may be subject to disciplinary action under applicable personnel policies. For faculty, this would be the process for "other misconduct" in the Faculty Handbook.
Are there new Clery reporting requirements as a result of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act under the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination provision (“SaVE Act”)? Yes, the SaVE Act provision adds domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to the categories that must be reported under Clery. Federal regulations defining these crimes were finalized in the fall of 2014, and the crimes are now included in our Crime Reporting Policy.
Page last updated June 2015.