Click each Midlands university below to see how the Clery Act is put into action.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The UNL Police Department coordinates Clery Act compliance. Different employees work on different aspects, such as compiling statistics and detailing polices. The department is seeking accreditation and will hire a compliance manager to ensure it's meeting all standards. That person also will monitor Clery Act compliance.
UNL police works with several university departments on campaigns to inform the campus community and parents about reporting crimes, and not only the officials designated by the Clery Act, Police Chief Owen Yardley said.
“Our philosophy is that we don't want it limited to just campus security authorities,” he said.
They would prefer that anyone who suspects a crime report it to police, so investigators receive the information quickly and accurately, without it being filtered through anyone else. However, the department does regularly inform the designated campus security authorities of their duties, Yardley said.
UNL's athletic department is included. Asked about the Freeh report's criticism of the Penn State football program as an island, Yardley said, “I don't believe we have that problem here.” For one thing, he said, UNL police officers travel with the football team — to help ensure security during games, but also so everyone's familiar with them and knows “they're always there to assist with any reporting issues that come up,” Yardley said.
They would like to expand that to other sports. And not just with sports, but in any program, “If people make a conscientious effort not to report things, that can happen, any time, any place,” Yardley said.
Having good, responsible people in charge can help prevent a cover-up, he said.
“And you gotta get the word out, and we try to do this, that if you ever try to cover something up to protect your reputation, eventually word is going to get out,” Yardley said.
Recently, UNL police evaluated all departments' distribution of Clery Act-required information and notifications, such as how to find crime data, how to make reports and reporting requirements.
Because of the Sandusky case, UNL administrators directed UNL police and human resources officials to develop further youth safety policies for all the camps and clinics that bring young people to the campus, Yardley said.
They're working on that now, on a program to ensure that directors and workers in the programs are following best practices for abuse prevention. Information about what's supposed to happen will be sent directly to parents, Yardley said.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Paul Kosel, campus security director, oversees Clery Act compliance. He and his employees compile the crime statistics, and he emails links with them each fall to all currently enrolled students, staff and faculty. Immediate alerts are blasted out to the university about significant events that pose threats. Those are standard practices.
Kosel said he meets with people from various departments several times a year and reminds them about Clery Act obligations. Each fall, as the deadline approaches for reporting annual statistics, he reminds the designated campus security authorities that they're supposed to report any crimes to his department. As for ongoing training, Kosel said many key officials at UNO have been in their jobs many years and know what to do.
A couple of months ago, a UNO administrator conducted an audit of the crime statistics.
Kosel said he welcomed that.
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Michelle Hamaker, director of police and parking services, said the university recently added an additional training session to its “wholistic approach.” She said the session was based on a new Clery Act guide from the nonprofit group Security on Campus Inc.
The session was voluntary. Campus security authorities who didn't attend received copies of the guide, in addition to the annual letters they all receive reminding them about what they're supposed to report. Plans are to do the training yearly. More Webinars and classes are becoming available as well, Hamaker said.
Even when meeting not specifically about the Clery Act, Hamaker stresses to university employees, “I don't care if you're a campus security authority or not; I would hope that you would step up and report these things.”
She said the Department of Education has begun doing random audits of compliance. The FBI also audits university crime statistics.
“We did get to participate in an (FBI) audit in April 2010, and the Department of Education tagged along,” Hamaker said.
The results haven't come back, but she welcomed the audit.
“Any time you're being looked at it makes you a little nervous, but it helps,” Hamaker said. “You see, hey, we're doing a lot of things really well, but there are some things we can do better.”
Iowa State University
Jerry D. Stewart, director of public safety, said ISU's multi-disciplinary approach includes annual emails and follow-up calls or personal conversations with all campus security authorities.
“We notify them of their responsibilities and effective avenues of reporting,” he said.
Several people in the Public Safety Department help with Clery Act compliance. The Office of University Counsel reviews policies and ongoing compliance.
Stewart has attended one of the growing number of conferences and seminars nationally.
“We will certainly review the Freeh report with interest,” he said. “We are always looking for ways in which we as an institution can ensure compliance.”
University of Iowa
Public Safety Department leaders in charge of Iowa's Clery Act compliance recently attended a three-day seminar on updated regulations, university spokesman Tom Moore said.
He said campus security authorities are trained on their Clery Act duties as part of their initial orientation, and then reminded and given updates.
The university makes annual Clery Act reports to the Iowa Board of Regents. The regents recently asked the university to review its practices, policies and procedures, Moore said.
A report has been presented to them.
The director of Creighton's Public Safety Department, Rick McAuliffe, is responsible for gathering the crime and fire safety statistics and policy data from various sources, ensuring its accuracy and publishing an annual report.
Creighton's general counsel frequently provides guidance.
Every year at the conclusion of the reporting period, all directors, deans and vice presidents are queried regarding any crime reports they are aware of that may not have been reported during the year, McAuliffe said through a university spokeswoman.
An Athletics Department compliance director works with coaches on training, and on background checks. All summer youth camp directors, trainers, coaches, student athletes and anyone else who has contact with camp participants are now required to undergo Project Harmony's child abuse prevention training.
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A new report of what went wrong at Penn State strongly criticizes the university for not complying with the Clery Act, a federal law aimed at providing students, parents and employees with information about campus safety to help them protect themselves from crime.
Officials at major universities in Nebraska and Iowa said they continuously work to comply with the expanding law. All say they have robust Clery Act programs but that they will study former FBI Director Louis Freeh's Penn State report, released Thursday, for ways to improve.
Each school posts crime statistics, policies and information about reporting crimes on campus security or police websites. It appears none has the independent internal compliance auditors or the mandatory regular training of authority figures the report recommends for Penn State.
The Clery Act requires U.S. colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses, by such measures as maintaining a public crime log, annually publishing a report on three years of crime statistics, and warning the university community about imminent threats.
Congress first passed the law in 1990 and has expanded it several times since. The law is named for Jeanne Clery, who at age 19 in 1986 was raped and murdered at Lehigh University.
The federal law complements citizens' duty to report crimes and state laws that make it mandatory to report child abuse. In Nebraska, the law requires anyone who has a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect to report it within 24 hours. In Iowa, licensed professionals in education, child care and law enforcement must report child abuse or neglect within 24 hours.
Regulations from the U.S. Department of Education, the agency that ultimately enforces the Clery Act, dictate compliance details. These include requiring certain university employees — such as student-housing officials, athletic directors and coaches — to report crimes to university police. The regulations call those employees “campus security authorities.”
The Clery Act required then-Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and others to report to university police former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's 2001 rape of a boy in a football locker room shower. The report said much of Penn State's leadership appeared unaware of the Clery Act, the athletic department was like “an island” with its own rules, and the football program was allowed to opt out of most Clery Act and sex abuse awareness training.
NU campuses in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney, as well as Creighton University, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, all put their police or public safety departments in charge of Clery Act compliance.
Officials at each university said they use a variety of methods to encourage everyone on campus to report crimes, beyond just designated campus security authorities. Most also said Clery Act compliance at their institutions and those across the nation is improving because of increased awareness, improved training and other resources, some of which followed the Sandusky case.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney recently added an additional, voluntary training session using a new Clery Act guide from the nonprofit Security on Campus Inc., said Michelle Hamaker, director of police and parking services.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln includes the NU athletic department in Clery Act notifications and updates, and campus police officers travel with the football team.
Also, because of the Sandusky case, UNL administrators recently directed campus police and human-resources officials to develop youth safety policies for all the camps and clinics that bring young people to campus, Police Chief Owen Yardley said. They're working on a program to ensure that directors and workers in the programs are following best practices for abuse prevention.
The Iowa Board of Regents annually reviews Clery Act reports, and it recently asked the University of Iowa to review its act-related practices, policies and procedures, university spokesman Tom Moore said. Leaders of the university's public-safety department recently attended a three-day seminar on the topic.
At Creighton University, all summer youth camp directors, trainers, coaches, student athletes and all others who have contact with camp participants are required to undergo child abuse prevention training from Project Harmony of Omaha.
Jerry Stewart, director of public safety at Iowa State University, said ISU's approach includes annual emails and follow-up calls or personal conversations with all campus security authorities. Stewart has attended one of a growing number of national conferences and seminars.
“We will certainly review the Freeh report with interest,” he said.
At each university, officials said they try to create a culture in which people are encouraged to report suspected crimes, and in which victims feel safe coming forward.
At UNL, Yardley said everyone is encouraged to call police — and not to wait or to run it by someone else first. Not just with sports, but in any program, “if people make a conscientious effort not to report things, that can happen, any time, any place,” he said.
Having good, responsible people in charge can help avoid a cover-up, he said.
“And you gotta get the word out — and we try to do this — that if you ever try to cover something up to protect your reputation, eventually word is going to get out,” Yardley said.
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