It's Fall. Kids are back to school and for high school seniors and even juniors, this is a very anxious time. It's the annual "What college am I going to apply to" season. Add to that the number of college freshman and sophomores who've chosen schools and aren't happy with their choices and want to transfer. It's not easy.
Let's also not forget all those parents out there whose children are about to face that daunting decision and want to help their scions pick the right place to go.
Considerations include location, quality of education, and athletics. One thing that's often overlooked is campus safety. We all assume we're protected and safe on campus. And hopefully everyone is. But how do you know for sure?
The Clery Act. It was named after Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student on April 5, 1986. It is a federal law that requires colleges to report crimes that occur “on campus” and school safety policies. And that's why it's important for you to know about it.
Schools can be financially punished if they don't abide by it. Big time.
Eastern Michigan University was fined $357,500 for failing to warn the campus of a student's assault and death that occurred in 2006
Department of Education fined Virginia Tech $55,000 on March 29, 2011 for" failure to issue a timely warning"
The Government takes this seriously. So should you.
All colleges and universities that accept federal monies must compile and post statistics on sexual assaults as well as a number of other physical crimes.
Why's that important? Safety -- first and foremost. If the schools don't have a good Clery report, they can lose students. And these reports are mandated by law to be placed in public and available for all students, potential students and all others with public interest to have access.
Check the website for any college. They MUST post this information each year in an Annual Security Report (ASR), which can be found on a school’s website.
So hopefully this is a helpful little bit of information that will add to your calculations for picking your next school. It keeps the institutions honest and also safe, because a bad ASR rating could cost them students, and that in turn costs them money. It's in their financial interest to be a safe haven.
Hope this helps. Oh, and just an author's privilege -- a very prejudiced one, I have to confess -- is that the best city to go to college in is Boston. It's the consummate college town.
"I'm David Garber, a Boston guy, and I've approved this message."