Recent reports about mold in residence halls and the spread of viruses among students are an important reminder that threats to campus safety can be biological and may trigger the Jeanne Clery Act’s emergency notification requirement just like a criminal or environmental threat would. Effective compliance with Clery in these situations requires open communication among various departments on campus – including residence life, the health center, and campus public safety – to identify potential threats and then issue notifications. This should be bolstered with both policies and good relationships.
Of all the requirements of the Jeanne Clery Act college and university communities most frequently associate it with the timely warning. As an original part of the 1990 law timely warnings have fundamentally changed how students and employees learn about campus crime in a way that is now firmly enshrined in their cultures as it is what they most frequently see. As a result, they now often expect to be warned about crimes including those that technically fall outside Clery geography but may nonetheless affect the campus. Addressing these expectations begins with a clear policy shaped with stakeholder input.
As recognized by the Jeanne Clery Act, emergencies on college campuses span from active shooters to bad weather to political protests. While the Clery Act is best known for requiring immediate emergency notifications, it actually goes much further by establishing a baseline for each institution’s immediate emergency response and evacuation procedures, including the use of electronic and cellular communication. With the framework of the Clery Act and modern technologies, true preparedness and the ability to quickly respond is now possible.