Editorial: Clery Act violation puts campus at safety risk


Jonathan Laczniak/Iowa State Daily

The Clery Act is a federal law passed in 1990 that requires universities to disclose violent or sexual crimes that occur on campus. Iowa State was found out of compliance of the Clery Act until February.

Editorial Board

The Clery Act is a federal, nationwide act that is enforced on all college campuses. It was developed to make sure that every time there is a sexual assault on campus, the students are notified either by text message, phone call or email. A report filed on June 17 showed that Iowa State has not been complying with the Clery Act.

The notifications, along with giving general information about crimes committed on campus, also provide prevention tips, response protocol and resource information for individual students who are affected. Iowa State failing to adhere to the Clery Act means that these important steps were missing on campus and many students went without knowing when a crime had been committed.

It is important that Iowa State, as well as every other university, follows the Clery Act to keep students safe. The Clery Act requires a timely notice be sent to students so that they are aware there has been a significant crime committed on campus.

Iowa State was not in compliance with this act because it was just putting the notification on the ISU Police Department’s website rather than sending notifications via email or text message. Though it is a good idea to post these crimes on ISU Police’s website, there needs to be more student outreach and the students should have had the information sent to them rather than having to seek it out.

Students may have been directly impacted by this lack of communication because the entire point of disseminating the information is to put students on guard against potential crimes that could endanger them. When students are not informed, they may not take the same precautions.

Obviously students should be aware of the dangers of sexual assault on our campus, even without reminders from a mass notification. However, the alerts focus attention on the problem, ensuring that concerns for personal safety do not fall by the wayside.

Many students may receive the notifications and immediately disregard them, believing that the warnings do not apply to them. However, if even one student uses the notification to make sure that he or she is safe on campus, then the alert system is doing its job.

A mistake this large comes with a cost. Even though Iowa State has fixed the problem and has been trying to make sure that students are notified when there is a crime on campus, there is still a chance that Iowa State could be facing a fine as large as $35,000 per violation. Since Iowa State was in violation of the Clery Act during the 2013 school year, it is possible that we could owe a large amount of money in fines.

Iowa State fixed the problem in February and the official audit showing that Iowa State had not been in compliance with the Clery Act prior to February was released June 17. Now that Iowa State is in compliance, it is important that it stays that way. Students deserve to have this kind of information sent to them to ensure their safety, rather than having to seek it out.