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Timely Warning

Title: Timely Warning Policy 
Effective Date: September 1, 2015
Responsible Office: Compliance & Equity
Last Updated: First Version

I. Scope

This policy applies to William & Mary as a whole university, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

II. Purpose­

The purpose of this policy is to ensure the issuance of timely warnings regarding crimes posing a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community. This policy complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) by establishing procedures for the university regarding the circumstances and delivery of warnings of serious or on-going threats (see 20 USCA section 1092; 34 CFR 668.46(e)).

III. Policy & Procedure

What are timely warnings? Timely warnings are provided to notify students, faculty, and staff of certain crimes that may represent a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community and to heighten safety awareness. A timely warning also seeks information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of the offender when violent crimes against persons or substantial crimes against property have been reported.

Timely warnings include information about the crime that triggered the warning, but do not include personally identifiable information about the victim of the crime. Timely warnings also include other available information that the university determines will help members of the campus community to protect themselves, ranging from descriptive information about suspects to tips on deterring theft. The content and amount of information varies depending on the nature of the threat, the amount of information available to W&M, the risk of compromising law enforcement efforts, and other factors. 

When are timely warnings made – what type of situations do they warn of? Timely warnings are made only in response to the occurrence of crimes specified in the Clery Act. Other dangers to the campus community are addressed through emergency communications, as described William & Mary’s Emergency Response Plan.[1] 

Under the Clery Act Compliance Policy, university employees designated as Campus Security Authorities promptly report Clery Act crimes to W&M Police. Decisions to issue a warning are made on a case-by-case basis considering the nature and circumstances of the crime and the danger posed to the community. A warning is only required when the reported crime occurred on campus, public property bordering campus, or property controlled by William & Mary, as described in the Clery Act Compliance Policy.[2] 

Who makes them and how? Timely warnings typically are made by the William & Mary Police Department. Warnings may also be issued by the Vice President for Student Affairs or for warnings arising from crimes not involving students, the Chair of the Emergency Management Team. The Vice President or Chair typically consults with William & Mary Police or local police and, for crimes occurring off the main (Williamsburg) campus, the university official with responsibility for the property or program at the location where the crime occurred.  

Timely warnings typically are made through campus wide e-mails sent to students and employees.

IV. Authority & Amendment

This policy is approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Chair of the Emergency Management Team.  

Technical amendments were made by the Chief Compliance Officer effective April, 2015, to update hyperlinked policies, procedures and other documents (Section V).  

The policy was amended effective September, 2015, with the approval of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Chair of the Emergency Management Team, to update office names and the list of university officials who issue timely warnings.  

V. Related Policies, Procedures & Documents

[1] The Clery Act requires institutions to make two types of alerts: timely warnings, described in this policy, and emergency notifications. Emergency notifications are made for any significant emergency or dangerous situation involvement an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. If an emergency notification is made, W&M does not need to issue a timely warning about the same situation. The procedures for making emergency notifications are part of William & Mary’s Emergency Response Plan.

[2] For Clery Act crimes occurring on property at a distance from the campus, controlled by the institution and frequented by students, a timely warning needs to be made only if the crime occurred at a time and in a part of the property where W&M had control.