BY WILLIAM LUND
Edgewood College is set to launch a new safety and security app, Director of Transportation and Security Mike Metcalf confirmed. “This will replace The Eagle Alert system,” he said. “Eagle Alert works well, but it’s cumbersome, older technology. . . . This app will be easier for the user.”
Students have the right to feel safe on campus. The new app would constantly update security information, he said. This could be beneficial if students don’t abuse the service, for example, by making false crime reports, Metcalf said.
Ed Taylor, director of strategic communications, said Blackboard Connect sends Eagle Alerts though email, text, and then landline. “The landline slows down the deployment,“ he said. “The new app has the same function to generate texts and email alerts but no landline connection.”
Taylor said there are many bells and whistles, including the location of the safe ride shuttle. “There is a possible friend tracker,” he said. “Essentially, I can tell you if I’m coming back to the dorm, and if anything happens, an alert can be sent.”
He said the interface is more user friendly.
“The app will be tested and launched this summer with students being able to sign up in the fall,” said Metcalf.
In 1986, a 19-year-old Lehigh University student named Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered by Josoph Henry in her on-campus residence. Lehigh didn’t report the crime right away, and after a year, national backlash against unreported crime on campuses began to fester.
This new app could prevent such tragedies from taking place on Edgewood’s campus.
Signed into law in 1990, The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires all universities and colleges that participate in federal financial aid programs to record and publish all crime information that occurs on and in the immediate area surrounding the school.
Compliance is mandatory and is monitored by the United States Department of Education. Civil penalties can be up to $35,000 per violation against institutions for each infraction. The Department of Education can also suspend institutions from receiving any aid for federal student financial programs.
Currently, all Clery information can be found on Edgewood.edu under the security and safety and human resources tab. It can be tricky to find, and, for more comprehensive information, students can access the stand-alone Campus Safety and Security database.
Campus Safety and Security database, or CSS for short, is a data analysis tool. The government-run database is operated by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education.
This website can analyze large amounts of crime data, crunch numbers, and provide realistic statistic information to be viewed. CSS was designed for its users to quickly create customized crime reports. The reports provide the public information relating to fire data and crimes that are committed on campus.
CSS collects its data from Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) Campus Safety and Security Statistics, a third party database. That information is reported to the database annually by all postsecondary institutions that receive Title IV funding.
Colleges that participate in any type of federal student aid programs are required to report the data. The information is protected under the Clery Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act.
The Clery Act states that all colleges and universities that receive federal funding must disseminate an annual security report or ASR for short. The college then issues the ASRs to employees and students every October 1st.
Each ASR document must include statistics of campus crime for each of the three preceding calendar years, as well as provide specific details about adjustments taken to improve campus safety.
ASRs might include statements regarding campus facility security and access, crime reporting, law enforcement authority, incidence of drug or alcohol use, and the response or prevention of sexual assaults, domestic or dating violence, or stalking incidents
Edgewood is not required to send ASRs, but “we are required to keep three years of reports on the Edgewood website,” Metcalf said.
Marc Lovicott, director of communications for the University of Wisconsin Police Department, said the school must follow federal law. “We want to insure the safety and security of campus for students, faculty and staff.”
“(The Clery Act) is a great tool to keep everyone safe and informed when we have a event on campus.” he said.
Taylor said the Clery act is a good piece of legislation. “I look at it like this. It’s important to comply with regulations. . . . it’s also the right thing to do. If we see opportunity to enhance safety on campus, we will try to implement what we can. I have a kid in college, so does safety come to the forefront of my mind? Absolutely.”