What is the Clery Act?
Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman, was assaulted and murdered in her dorm room in 1986. In 1998, the “Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act” was renamed in her memory. The Clery Act was enacted in the belief that crime awareness can prevent campus victimization.
The federal law requires colleges and universities receiving federal funding to prepare, publish, and distribute, by October 1 of each year, campus security/safety policies and crime statistics in the form of an Annual Security Report (ASR). University community members are notified, annually in September, of the availability of the ASR and how and where to access the ASR. The Department of Education is responsible for Clery Act compliance.
Campus Security Authority is a Clery-specific term that encompasses four groups of individuals and organizations associated with the institution.
- A campus police department of an institution. The Mississippi State University Police Department (MSUPD) sworn personnel and department administrators are considered as CSA’s.
- Non-police individuals or offices responsible for campus security of an institution. At Mississippi State, this includes but is not limited to: academic deans, student affairs/residential life officials; athletic administrators including director, assistant directors, and coaches; student activities coordinators and staff; student conduct officials; faculty and staff advisors to student organizations; union building staff; student peer education advisors; administrators at branch campuses; and representatives in the Dean of Students' Office.
- An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities. At Mississippi State this includes, but are not limited to: academic deans; student affairs/residential life officials; coordinator of Greek affairs (or related positions); athletic administrators including director, assistant directors and coaches; student activities coordinators and staff; student conduct officials; faculty and staff advisors to student organizations; student union staff; student peer education advisors; and administrators at branch campuses.
- Any individual or organization specified in an institution's statement of campus security policy as an individual or organization to which students and employees should report criminal offenses. – Mississippi State University Police Department (MSUPD) and the Dean of Students' Office (DOS)
The following non-CSA positions/functions include but are not limited to: faculty member without responsibility for student and campus activity beyond the classroom; physicians/nurses in Student Health who only provide care for students; clerical or administrative support staff; cafeteria staff; facilities maintenance staff; information technology staff, licensed mental health or pastoral counselors, when acting within the scope of their license or certificate; and other like functions.
CSA’s are encouraged to report all crimes reported to them, on a timely basis, to the Mississippi State University Police Department (MSUPD) or Dean of Students’ Office (DOS). However, under the Clery Act, CSA’s are only obligated to report Clery Act qualifying crimes which occurred on campus, in public areas bordering campus and in certain non-campus buildings owned or controlled (leased) by the University. CSA’s should only report those crimes that have not been previously reported to MSUPD or another University CSA. The intent of including non-law enforcement personnel in the CSA role is to acknowledge that some community members and students in particular, may be hesitant about reporting crimes to the police, but may be more inclined to report incidents to other campus-affiliated individuals.
When a crime is reported to a CSA, the CSA should:
- Ask the individual if they would like to report the crime to MSUPD or DOS. If so, contact MSUPD at (662) 325-2121 or Dean of Students' Office at (662) 325-3611 to receive further instructions on how file a police report.
- If the individual does not want to complete a police report, it is the responsibility of the CSA to notify the proper crime reporting agency and complete an Incident Report Form.
CSA's are encouraged to report all crimes reported to them, on a timely basis, to MSUPD or the Dean of Students’ Office. However, under the Clery Act, only Clery Act qualifying crimes are required to be reported.
If the reported crime is made in good faith, meaning that there is reasonable basis for believing that the information is not rumor or hearsay, then the crime is Clery reportable. CSA’s, when interacting with the crime reporting party, need to gather incident information that would provide sufficient detail to properly classify the incident. This means CSA’s need to document reporting party responses or lack thereof. Reporting party identifying information should only be included in the Incident Report Form if the reporting party is willing to provide same (see Anonymous Reporting section below). CSA’s should not investigate the crime or attempt to determine whether a crime, in fact, took place. When in doubt regarding a reportable crime, please contact MSUPD or the Dean of Students’ Office for further clarification.
The Mississippi State University Police Department (MSUPD), unless otherwise prescribed by law, does not take anonymous police reports. The exception related to anonymous reporting involves Campus Security Authorities (CSA). Mississippi State University permits victims or witnesses to report crimes to CSA’s on a voluntary, anonymous basis (and includes such anonymous reports in reported Annual Security Report crime totals) but encourages individuals who report crime to provide identifying information.
Incident Report Forms along with other crime reporting measures are collected and the proper crime reporting agency within the institution makes a determination if an incident warrants timely warning/emergency notification to the University community and whether it is a reportable crime in the Annual Security Report (ASR). Representatives within the Dean of Students’ Office will consolidate crime data from multiple sources, report qualifying crime data to the federal Department of Education, publish campus ASR’s and inform the campus community when and where ASR’s are available. Mississippi State University ASR’s are posted here. Hard copies are available from the Dean of Student’s Office and MSUPD.
Regardless of your status (CSA or non-CSA), all community members are encouraged to promptly report all MSU campus related criminal incidents and other public safety related emergencies to MSUPD. For incidents requiring immediate attention, dial 911 or call MSUPD at (662) 325-2121. Non-emergency incidents can also be reported by calling MSUPD.