Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: Crime Reporting Obligations for CSAs
Additional information about the Clery Act reporting obligations is provided in the Mandatory Reporting webpage.
What is the Clery Act (also known as the Campus Crime Reporting Act)? The "Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act" (formerly the Campus Security Act) is a federal law that requires institutions of higher education in the United States to disclose campus security information including crime statistics for the campus and surrounding areas. It was first enacted by Congress in 1990 and amended a number of times since.
Who is Jeanne Clery? In 1986 Jeanne Clery, a freshman at Pennsylvania's Lehigh University, 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 College notifies those employees who are CSAs. All institutional officials with significant responsibility for campus and student activities are CSAs. For example, if you are a coach, a resident assistant/head resident/area coordinator, a faculty advisor for a student group, or, in many cases, an instructor, you have a responsibility to comply with reporting requirements.
Only 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 provide the victim with the procedures to make a voluntary anonymous report on a confidential basis for inclusion in the annual disclosure of crime statistics.
What kinds of incidents do I need to report? The types of actions or situations that need to be reported are described in Appendix A to the Crime Reporting Policy.
What triggers the reporting obligation? A CSA needs to call the 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 crimesand so-called “hate crimes”; more information is available 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.)
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.
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 reasonable 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 in good faith and (2) if you are reasonably certain that the matter 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.
How can I report incidents and what information needs to be included? You may contact the William & Mary Police Department in person or by phone. The Department is open 24 hours a day. If you are reporting an emergency you may dial 911 from a campus phone. If using a cell phone tell the Communications Officer your exact location. Non-emergency calls are received at 221-4596. You may also file a report in person. The William & Mary Police Department is located at 201 Ukrop Way in the Police and Parking Office.
When you contact the Police, please identify yourself as a CSA. The Police handle reports from CSAs differently than they do from, for example, an alleged victim of crime. Information we need to track the statistics includes:
- Incident date
- Incident time
- Incident location (exact location is particularly helpful)
- Short description of incident which occurred
Including this information will help us ensure we are properly reporting the statistic and avoid double counting.
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. For example, if a CSA reports a robbery, the William & Mary Police will encourage the CSA to have the victim to step forward and file an official police report. However, the Police will not initiate an investigation in most cases without victim assistance.
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.
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. Complaints of violations should be filed with DOE regional offices.
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.