Husch Blackwell Announces Clery Compliance Toolset to Fight Campus Crime
The solution aims to simplify university compliance with federal crime and safety standards.
by: Ian Lopez, Legaltech News
The road to compliance can sometimes be difficult to navigate, but tech solutions are providing better maps than those of days past.
For many colleges and universities, a compliance destination is the Clery Act, a federal statute requiring the reporting of campus crimes and safety efforts. In effort to help these higher education institutions ensure full compliance, Husch Blackwell and compliance software provider Neota Logic have released the Clery Compliance Toolset (CCT).
The online platform was designed to help higher education institutions meet full compliance with the federal safety and crime standards set forth by the Clery Act, which requires that universities and colleges that participate in federal financial aid programs create specific campus safety policies. The Act also requires these institutions to publicly disclose required information in an annual security report, and to track campus crime statistics.
When it comes to complying with the act, many have criticized universities for failing to report crimes. Analysis by the Columbus Dispatch and Student Press Law Center, for example, noted that while police found at least 17 sexual assault victims at a university during an 11 year span, the school had never reported any incidents. The analysis also found that another university reported that between 2011 and 2012, it didn’t have any serious assaults, while its student-discipline board punished around 60 students for physical assault. Furthermore, an audit of 2013 crime statistics from six California post-secondary institutions found that five has inaccurately reported their crime statistics.
While some criticize universities for false reporting, there are others that note that for many higher education institutions, compliance is desired, though given the complexity of regulations as well as a lack of understanding and resources, there’s plenty of space for an error.
“Most higher education institutions have a desire to comply but lack the necessary knowledge and or resources to do so,” said Michael Norton, partner at Husch Blackwell. “Campus security and safety is an important issue that is recognized by most institutions. Most non-compliance issues do not involve colleges and universities trying to hide or avoid the bad press.”
Norton added that, “Administrators want to comply but are concerned about the complexity of the regulations and the resources that it takes to comply. Campus safety is a priority around the country.”
To help higher education organizations get a clear understanding of Clery requirements, the CCT online interface walks administrators and executives through the development of compliant policies. The platform also categorizes and records crime statistics as well as creates the process for annual campus crime and safety reporting. Created with the knowledge of both Husch Blackwell education attorneys and Neota Logic, the solution aims “to provide a convenient and reliable platform” for compliance “without dedicating substantial resources,” Husch Blackwell said in a statement.
“The CCT allows our clients to have ongoing and consistent access to the expertise of Husch Blackwell lawyers at a fraction of the cost that would be normally associated with one on one advice,” Norton said. “The CCT provides all of the information an institution needs to fully comply with the Clery Act and provides a user friendly and efficient way to access that information. The Clery Act reporting requirements are streamlined, which will substantially reduce the time and resources needed for compliance.”
The base price of CCT is $5000 a year. It is adjusted to school size as well as the amount of campuses involved, Norton noted. With the CCT, users are also provided with review of their annual security report by a Husch Blackwell attorney.