Keene State College remains in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, a federal law which falls under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 1965, requiring all colleges and universities to report crime on or around their campuses.
According to the Jeanne Clery Act as stated on the Security on Campus, Inc. website, the Jeanne Clery Act, formerly known as the Campus Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, was enacted and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.
The act gained its name after Jeanne Clery, a student at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, was raped and murdered in her dormitory on April 5, 1986. According to the Security on Campus, Inc. website, which was founded by Jeanne Clery’s parents, Howard and Connie, “The law was amended in 1992 to add a requirement that schools afford the victims of campus sexual assault certain basic rights, and was amended again in 1998 to expand the reporting requirements.” In 1998 an amendment was also passed which officially named the law in memory of Jeanne Clery.
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The Director of Campus Safety, Amanda Warman, said the KSC Dept. of Campus Safety Crime and Fire Safety Report, which follows the provisions of the Jeanne Clery Act, provides the campus community at large with information. “People are better prepared when they are better informed,” Warman said. In addition, Warman said the report benefits the parents. “They can make decisions about their child’s educational experience.”
However, Warman said the report is relative to the KSC area. “My goal is to provide people with realistic information,” Warman said.
In comparison to other colleges, Warman said KSC is “very high” on a percentage scale compared to the University of New Hampshire and Plymouth State University in relation to liquor law violations. However, Warman said, “It is difficult to compare them side by side and it is not necessarily realistic.” Warman said every college is different regardless of if it has the same or a different size population. “The campus layout is different, the proximity to downtown is different, and the nature and culture of the campus is different too.”
In addition to the 1992 and 1998 amendments to the Jeanne Clery Act, additional amendments have since been added.
According to an article in Campus Safety Magazine, a resource for security, police, and administrators, a 2008 amendment to the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), which went into effect this July, implemented new rules regarding emergency response and emergency notification policies, missing student policies, fire safety reporting, and biased related reporting.
Warman said the data for the report is collected for the most recent complete calendar year. The information available on this year’s report relays the 2010 statistics and the two preceding years.
Although the newly enacted amendments to HEOA are in effect for the 2011-2012 calendar year, the new amendments are not required to show up in the report until next October’s edition. However, Warman decided to speed up the process and comply one year sooner.
“I figured I’d get ahead of the curve,” Warman said. The new amendments regarding emergency response and emergency notification policies, missing student policies, fire safety reporting, and biased related reporting all show up in this year’s report.
Each year the report goes through several sets of hands before it is handed off to the KSC community.
Warman said she, along with the Keene Police Dept. Liaison, Jon Stewart, spent several hours trying to capture all the incidents of crime that are required for the report. Warman said there are three areas to cover in order to get an accurate number of incidents.
Warman said the first part is counting the crimes reported to Campus Safety. The second part is counting those that are reported through Residential Life “that don’t for some reason get reported to us.” The last piece is counting the crimes that were reported to the Keene Police Dept. “We don’t want to misrepresent that so we do a lot of checking and double checking,” Warman said. “We try to be in compliance as much as humanly possible.”
From there Warman said she takes several hours reviewing the existing policies and writing new ones. For example, Warman said this year she made sure the college was up to date on its “sexual assault policy” and worked on implementing the new fire safety reporting. From here, Warman said she worked with the physical plants to see if there were any updates to fire systems on campus.
Warman said the report then goes through the marketing and communications depts. at KSC for edits regarding grammatical and formatting problems. “They will do whatever edits need to be done then they will reformat it into PDF, then that gets posted onto the web,” Warman said.
The crime statistics portion of the report falls under the Jeanne Clery Act and shows the number of instances that have occurred on, off, and around campus.
The Jeanne Clery Act breaks down the offenses into seven categories: 1) Criminal homicide, 2) Sex Offenses, 3) Robbery, 4) Aggravated Assault, 5) Burglary, 6) Motor Vehicle Theft, and 7) Arson.
In addition to these categories, colleges and universities are required to report any instances that require disciplinary referral. According to Warman, a disciplinary referral is anyone who is referred for a disciplinary act for violations of a state law. These categories are as follows: 1) Liquor Law Violations, 2) Drug Law Violations, and 3) Illegal Weapons Possession.
According to the act, all of the above statistics are then broken down into three categories regarding geographical location of where the incident took place.
The first category regards “total on campus” offenses, which include incidents taking place in dormitories or in other residential facilities, such as on campus apartments. Also in the “total on campus” number is “number in non-residential facilities,” which Warman explained as being anything that is college property. For example, this category would include incidents occurring in classroom buildings, on streets owned by the college, such as Wyman Way, or incidents occurring on Appian Way.
The second category includes those incidents which take place, “in or on a non-campus building or property,” which Warman explained as being buildings controlled by the campus, but being located on non-campus property, “such as an off-campus fraternity house that the campus owned,” Warman said.
The third category is in regards to incidents that take place “on public property.”
As the report shows three calendar years’ statistics, increases and decreases in the number of offenses can be easily seen. As shown on page 35 of the 2011 KSC Dept. of Campus Safety Campus Crime and Fire Safety Report, the number of arrests for on-campus liquor law violations has significantly decreased since 2008. In 2008 there were 75 liquor law violation arrests on campus and in 2010 there were 36.
Warman said this could be a result of fewer occurring incidences, more people obeying the law, less people getting caught, or more people being smarter about their behavior. “Generally it isn’t the alcohol, it is the behavior that attracts authority,” Warman said.
“Every day we [Campus Safety] do tons of education, tons of outreach,” Warman said. “When it comes down to it, it’s an individual’s choice whether to take part in the illegal behavior.”
KSC Coordinator of the First-Year Residential Experience and former five-year Resident Director, Nate Gordon said he has dealt with several on-campus crime situations before. “I have heard of money being stolen, laptops being stolen. I have responded to various sexual and physical assault and battery cases.” In addition to these, Gordon said he has most frequently dealt with alcohol and drug related cases.
Gordon said the disciplinary action process at KSC starts with a Resident Assistant (RA) staff member confronting a situation that has come to their attention. The RA then documents the situation and writes a report, which then gets entered into the “student conduct software system.” The Resident Director (RD) will read the report and based on the information will charge the student. “Everything is case dependent,” Gordon said.
For a drinking violation, Gordon explained a student will be given 48 hours notice of the hearing, which is where they will have an opportunity to explain their side of the story. “Nine times out of ten, students take responsibility for their actions,” Gordon said. “Then comes issuing the outcome letter with appropriate sanctions.”
Gordon said judicial sanctions can stem anywhere from a one semester probation to being expelled from the institution. “I have recommended a suspension and removed someone from housing as a result of a judicial sanction.”
Gordon said campus policies against law-breaking violations set a standard as to what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior at the college. Gordon explained that the Keene Police Dept. will be involved in law-breaking offenses because “they have the power to arrest if they feel it’s necessary.” In addition, “Assigning court dates are separate from the college, they are set through the city,” Gordon said.
“As an institution of education we are providing educational experiences for students to reflect upon their instances.” In the residence halls, Gordon said, are specific programs that educate students on the use and abuse of alcohol along with how to make smart choices.
“You can increase education and awareness, and decrease opportunity, but the third piece of that triangle is the person who commits the act, and that piece you just can’t control,” Warman said.
Jordan Cuddemi can be contacted at email@example.com.