Crime Reporting - Clery Act FAQs

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.

These FAQs were last updated in March 2014.

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. 

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 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 does being a CSA mean?  It means you have certain reporting obligations, described in these FAQs.  

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 B.  (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.) 

What is our Clery Act geography?  Three types of property constitute our Clery Act geography:

  • 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.

What locations are not included in our Clery Act geography? 

  • 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 may have occurred on campus, adjacent to campus, or in a non-campus location.  

The William & Mary Police Department is designated as the official collector of crime report information for all our campuses.  You may contact them 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 call or file a report in person with the William & Mary Police Department, please identify yourself as a CSA.  The way the Police handle reports from victims, for example, is different from how we handle reports from CSAs. 

The Police also need a short description of the incident (Clery Act crime) including:

  • incident date
  • incident time
  • incident location (exact location is particularly helpful)

Including this information will help us ensure we are properly reporting the incident and avoid double counting. 

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 shouldn’t a CSA do? 

  • 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.  

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.   

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.

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.

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.  Currently, the rule making relative to the definitions of these crimes is still ongoing.  CSAs will be notified and educated on the new requirements when they are in full effect.