ACCS Addressing Campus Security Reporting Issues

Several Alabama community colleges have not met all the requirements of a long-standing federal act on campus safety reporting, but officials say they will be compliant by the Oct. 1 reporting deadline.

The 1990 Clery Act requires colleges and universities that receive federal funding to make public each fall a public annual security report that includes statistics of campus crime for the preceding three years and details about efforts to improve campus safety.

All Alabama Community College System schools were annually submitting statistics to the U.S. Department of Education, but 21 of 24 colleges had deficiencies in their annual reports, a system spokeswoman told Alabama Daily News.

“I’m afraid we have some folks who were not even aware of the requirements under the Clery Act and the implications of not being aware … but they’ve been cooperative,” ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker said early this month during a system board meeting.

Non-compliance can mean fines of several million dollars, said Mark Bailey, chief of police at Jefferson State Community College.

The USDOE did a Clery Act compliance review at Jefferson State after a May 2019 officer-involved shooting there. That prompted an internal Clery Act compliance review at all ACCS colleges.

“We found some issues, but it’s one of those where nothing was intentional, it’s just not knowing what you have to do,” Bailey told the board.

All colleges are expected to be in full compliance by Oct. 1, ACCS spokeswoman Rachel Bunning said.

The ACCS has made the USDOE aware of our full-system review and they are in support of and have been helpful in our efforts to meet 100% compliance, Bunning said.