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Clery Act FAQs

Crime Reporting Obligations for Campus Security Authorities

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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 advocated for the new law.

What is a Campus Security Authority (CSA) and how do I know if I am one?

While not defined in statute, regulations provide that CSAs include:

  • campus police or security department personnel;
  • individuals or organizations identified in institutional security policies;
  • individuals with security-related responsibilities, or
  • an official “who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities.”

The Office of Compliance & Equity, in consultation with William & Mary Police, regularly reviews employees who are designated as CSA's to ensure compliance with the regulations. 

CSA's are notified annually in August via email from the Office of Compliance & Equity that informs them of their status as a CSA, provides guidance and access to training for fulfilling their obligations as a CSA, and updates them on any changes to the Clery Act geography.

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 certain criminal activity known as “Clery Act crimes” that you become aware of and that occur on university 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 murder, manslaughter, robbery, burglary, arson, sex offenses including rape, fondling, statutory rape or incest, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, drug abuse violence, liquor law violations, weapons possession violations, Violence Against Women Act offenses including dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, and Hate Crimes. 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.

What is our Clery Act geography? 

Three types of property constitute our Clery Act geography:

  • Campus property.  For Clery Act purposes, W&M has five campuses: (1) Williamsburg campus, (2) Newport News Peninsula Center, (3) the VIMS campus in Gloucester, VA  (4) the VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory in Wachapreague, VA and (5) the Washington Center in Washington D.C.  Campus property includes grounds and buildings that are within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the institution in direct support of the institution's educational purposes, including residence halls.  The Williamsburg campus includes the Law School and the School of Education as part of the same reasonably contiguous geographic area. 

  • Public property adjacent to and accessible from Campus Property. This includes sidewalks, streets, public parking lots, public parks, and public buildings adjacent to one of the W&M campuses. It must satisfy all three conditions:  1) it is publicly owned property, it is within or adjacent to campus, and it is accessible from campus.  Examples of public property within the university's Clery Act geography include:
    • Sidewalk and the portions of North Boundary Street and Prince George Street in front of Brown Hall.
    • Public parking lot at the corner of Francis Street and South Boundary Street across from Hunt Hall.
    • 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.  This means any building or property owned or controlled by the university that is used in direct support of, or in relation to, the institution’s educational purposes, and is not within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area of the institution.  It must also be frequently used by students.  Examples of non-campus property includes
    • Plumeri Park and Martin Family Stadium
    • Meridian at Mt. Vernon Triangle apartments for the Washington Center programs.
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.
  • Private property that is adjacent to campus property, such as the Wawa parking lot next to Tribe Square.
  • Off campus housing that is privately leased by individual students even when the housing hosts student organization events.
What do I do if a criminal incident occurred on our Clery Act geography – how do I make a report?

A CSA must file a report with the William & Mary Police Department when they become aware of information that indicates that a Clery Act crime occurs on campus property, 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.  

  • Contact William & Mary Police Department by phone at 757-221-4596 or in person at the PoliceOffice located at 201 Ukrop Way on he Williamsburg campus. 
  • Identify yourself as a CSA. 
  • Provide a description of the incident.  You do not need to identify the specific Clery Act crime involved.  For example:
    • “A student informed me that their parked car in Zable Stadium lot was broken into during class yesterday”
    • “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 in Dupont.”   
  • Provide date and time (or approximate time) of the incident
  • Provide the specific location or location to the nearest address/point possible
You are not required to, but may elect to, provide the name of individuals involved unless it is a sex offense or a Violence Against Women Act offense, in which case you are required to provide all details of the incident and the individuals involved that you know.
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.
Do I need to witness the criminal incident first hand? 

No.  The reporting obligation arises when a CSA becomes 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 an 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 or arrests to be made.

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 crime, 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 do not have to report information about a Clery Act crime 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 to William & Mary Police.  This means, for 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.   If a student requests an extension for their assignment because they were robbed at gun point outside their residence hall the previous evening and they were being interviewed by William & Mary Police until midnight, you do not need to make a 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 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.

Usually the best approach to take if you have doubts about the validity of information about a crime is to report the matter and share your concerns with the police, 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. 

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 or perpetrator unless it is a sex offense or Violence Against Women Act offense, and then a CSA must report all information that they know or have been told.

Only those CSAs who are designated confidential resources for students, such as professional mental health counselor or medical physician, 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.  If a individual designated as a confidential resources is told by an employee that they are being stalked on their way to work by a former partner, the individual must report the incident to the William & Mary Police Department.  If the individual designated as a confidential resource hears a student say that a picnic table in front of the Sadler Center was set on fire, then the CSA would report an arson to the William & Mary Police.

Is this the same as the reporting of sexual assault/harassment that I have to do under the Policy Prohibiting Title IX Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Harassment?  

It is related.  Sexual assaults, including rape and fondling, are Clery Act crimes that you must report to the William & Mary Police as a CSA.  Under the university's Title IX Policy, all employees (other than designated confidential resources) -- are considered a "mandatory reporter"  Employees must report to the Title IX Coordinator sexual harassment against W&M students or employee.  If you report to the William & Mary Police an act of sexual assault as a CSA, then you have satisfied your obligation of reporting it as a form of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator. 

What is not a responsibility of a CSA?
  • The CSA is not responsible for proving or deciding whether the alleged incident actually occurred—that is the job of law enforcement.  A CSA should not investigate or ask questions of a harmed or accused individual.
  • 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. 
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 of more than $55,000 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. 

 

 

These FAQs were last updated in October 2022 by the Chief Compliance Officer