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ECSU Receives Consultant's Clery Act Assessment Report

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Elizabeth City State UniversityIn May of 2013, Elizabeth City State University retained Margolis Healy & Associates, a nationally respected firm specializing in campus safety, security, and regulatory compliance, to assess the university's compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998 ("the Clery Act").  The Margolis Healy report, released today, cites numerous shortcomings identified during the firm's initial on-site assessment and offers more than 60 recommendations for strengthening ECSU's compliance with the Clery Act.  The report also acknowledges the many corrective measures ECSU has taken to come into compliance with Clery Act requirements and the proactive steps it has taken—and continues to take—to ensure that the ECSU community is safe and secure.

As noted in the report, some key initiatives and remedial steps undertaken to date by ECSU include: 

  • Appointed an interim Clery Coordinator to manage all compliance efforts related to the Clery Act; and established a new Clery Compliance Committee to continuously monitor, review, and implement Clery Act programs and regulations.
  • Developed a new Campus Safety Website that contains campus safety information required under the Clery Act; established a Student Rights, Responsibilities and Complaints webpage; updated the University Police webpage with more information related to campus safety policies and procedures that are coordinated by University Police; and posted a Daily Crime and Fire Log on the University Police webpage to inform the campus community of crimes and fires on campus.
  • Created and updated four policies related to campus safety: (1) Emergency Response and Evacuation Notification Policy; (2) Timely Warning Policy; (3) Missing Student Policy; and (4) revised Sexual Assault Policy.
  • Published a new Annual Safety and Fire Security Report.
  • Updated the Emergency Operations Plan to include more information related to emergency drill procedures and other emergency notification requirements; Evaluated and updated the university's emergency notification system (ECSU ALERT) that alerts students, faculty, and staff of imminent dangers via text and email.  
  • Updated the university's online student and employee database (Banner system) and campus housing contracts to include required missing student contact information in accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act.
  • Established stronger relationships with local law enforcement through Memorandum of Understanding agreements.
  • Created a Clery Act training module for all Campus Security Authorities; implemented individualized and campus-wide mandatory training for all faculty and staff to ensure they are fully aware of Clery Act responsibilities and are able to respond appropriately; Established Clery liaisons for each department on campus to ensure Clery Act compliance efforts are implemented and monitored at the departmental level.
  • Updated ECSU's Clery geography in accordance with the Clery Act.

Margolis Healy's executive summary concludes, "If ECSU remains committed to a culture of compliance and the necessary resources to support compliance activities, we are convinced it will have a model Clery Act program."  Under a retainer agreement, Margolis Healy, which has a grant-funded relationship with the U.S. Department of Education, will continue to assist ECSU as the campus works to implement all other recommendations contained in the report.

ECSU Interim Chancellor Charles Becton underscored that safety remains a top priority for the university. "We will remain vigilant and are committed to making continued improvements in our campus safety plan. The focus we have placed on compliance and the changes we have made in our campus public safety operations reflect that commitment."

ECSU has posted the full Margolis Healey report and an executive summary on the campus website:  www.ecsu.edu/safety/

Proactive Steps Taken Prior to Receiving the Margolis Healy Report

Prior to receiving the program assessment report from Margolis Healy & Associates, ECSU's Clery Compliance Committee took numerous proactive steps in anticipation of the firm's findings and recommendations.  For your information, we have provided below a summary of measures already taken by this committee to strengthen the University's compliance with the Clery Act, as they relate to each of the 62 recommendations offered by Margolis Healy.

Margolis Healy Recommendations & ECSU's Proactive Steps

1. Ensure the Clery Compliance Committee develops a detailed project plan for preparing the AFSSR.

Pre-recommendation Action: On August 12, 2013, the ECSU Administrative Counsel approved a Clery Compliance Committee comprised of key stakeholders from every major department of the university. Detailed project plans were developed by the Interim Clery Coordinator to address numerous Clery Act deficiencies and create the new 2013 AFSSR. The new 2013 ASSFR can be found on the Campus Safety webpage at the following link:  http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/annual_safety_fire_report.cfm

2. Ensure those responsible for preparing the Report receive appropriate training.

Pre-recommendation Action: All members of the Clery Compliance Committee received training prior to working on project plans and serving on the Committee. Members have also attended documented personalized Campus Security Authority (CSA) training sessions for the employees in their department.

3. Develop a University policy and associated procedures regarding where students and other campus community members should report crimes. This policy should, at a minimum, identify the primary offices and individuals where ECSU wants campus community members to report crimes. (Ref.: The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, pgs. 74 – 76).

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is located on page 3 of the new 2013 ECSU ASFSR. http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

4. A central part of developing this policy should include identifying, notifying, and training all CSAs. This process would begin with reviewing ECSU's organizational chart and identifying those individuals who have significant responsibilities for student and campus activities. 

Pre-recommendation Action: ECSU identified the Campus Security Authorities in each university department. On August 13, 2013, a mandatory Clery Act training session was conducted for all faculty and staff by Steven Healy (managing partner Margolis Healy & Associates) and Alyn Goodson (Interim Clery Coordinator). An online Clery training module for all Campus Security Authorities was created and placed on the Campus Safety webpage for use by all faculty and staff members. http://www.ecsu.edu/safety/docs/CSAtrainingModule.pdf
Documented personalized training is being conducted on an on-going basis by the Interim Clery Coordinator. More in-depth training will be conducted by Margolis Healy & Associates through an existing retainer agreement. 

5. ECSU should develop a clear policy regarding voluntary, confidential reporting, if it intends to, in fact, have such a policy. Generally, these policies would include to whom the report should be made, whether or not there are forms used for such reports and how one would obtain such form, what happens to the confidential report after it is made, and the fact that the statistics will be included in the AFSSR.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 3 of the new 2013 ECSU AFSSR. http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

6. Develop a written policy that addresses access to campus, campus facilities, and security considerations used in the maintenance of campus facilities. The policy should include information about vegetation control, maintenance of campus lighting, and other physical security systems. The statement in the AFSSR should summarize this policy.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 8 of the new 2013 ECSU AFSSR.  http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

7. Ensure the policy addresses facility business hours and how to obtain access if permitted or for special event needs. The policy should also provide contact information for staff to contact the appropriate department for access control systems. Typically, institutions have a separate policy for residence halls due to their sensitive nature.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 8 of the new 2013 ECSU ASFSR.  http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

8. Develop a visitor management policy or include visitor controls procedures in the above referenced policy.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 8 of the new 2013 ECSU ASFSR.  http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

9. Revise the statement regarding the enforcement authority of ECSU Police.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 5 of the new 2013 ECSU ASFSR. http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

10. Enter into appropriate formal agreements with the Elizabeth City Police Department, and other agencies, as needed, for the investigation of certain crimes until the ECSU PD enhances its internal capacity to handle these cases on their own.

Pre-recommendation Action: In September 2013, ECSU entered into a formal MOU with the Pasquotank Sheriff's Department to support the investigation and law enforcement efforts of University Police. Additionally, in August 2013, ECSU entered into another formal MOU with the Elizabeth City Police Department to support the law enforcement efforts by University Police.

11. Revise the statement regarding promptly reporting crimes and other emergencies to the ECSU PD, including a statement about what the Department does in response to these reports.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 3 of the new 2013 ECSU ASFSR.
http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

12. Implement a policy that encourages professional and pastoral counselors to inform those they are counseling about the voluntary, confidential reporting procedures. As needed, revise the voluntary, confidential reporting procedures to ensure they are compliant with local and state directives, and Title IX requirements.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 3 of the 2013 ECSU ASFSR. http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

13. Conduct a comprehensive inventory of all crime prevention, security awareness, and related programming to accurately catalog efforts in these areas.

Pre-recommendation Action: Members of the Clery Compliance Committee compiled an inventory list of all crime prevention and security awareness programs at ECSU by University Police and Student Affairs. A list of some of these crime prevention programs are also noted on page 13 of the new 2013 ECSU ASFSR. http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

14. Maintain a current list of all applicable programming.

Pre-recommendation Action: As previously mentioned, an inventory and list of programs are retained by the Student Affairs representatives of the committee. A list of some of these crime prevention programs are noted on page 13 of the 2013 ECSU ASFSR.  http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

15. Ensure the statement in the ASFSR complies with all required components.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 13 of the new 2013 ECSU ASFSR.  http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

16. We encourage ECSU to develop a formal agreement with the Elizabeth City Police Department addressing how it will communicate and cooperate regarding criminal activity at off-campus locations of student organizations.

Pre-recommendation Action: ECSU does not own any off-campus property used for student organizations; however, the existing MOU agreements with ECPD and the Pasquotank Sheriff's Department will support any off-campus coordination of student activities as necessary.

17. ECSU PD should work to develop substantive relationships with the Elizabeth City Police Department to ensure appropriate cooperation on a wide range of issues, including emergency response, support for complex investigations, and routine matters, such as intelligence sharing.

Pre-recommendation Action: In April 2013, ECSU signed a police assistance agreement with the Elizabeth City Police Department to help investigate campus crimes. Through this agreement, ECSU developed substantive relationships with this department to support investigations and other police operations efforts by University Police.

18. Conduct a comprehensive review of ECSU's DFSCA practices.

Pre-recommendation Action: ECSU conducted a comprehensive review of the DFSCA practices and developed a draft of the Biennial Report required under this program. This draft is currently under review by Margolis Healy & Associates to ensure compliance with the DFSCA.

19. Officially appoint an office to oversee the implementation of the DFSCA.

Pre-recommendation Action: ECSU appointed the Office of Student Affairs to oversee all matters related to DFSCA. As previously stated, this office drafted the Biennial Report for ECSU.

20. Develop the appropriate materials to comply with the DFSCA.

Pre-recommendation Action: Prior to drafting the Biennial Report, Student Affairs developed and obtained the appropriate materials to ensure compliance with the DFSCA. The notice requirement will be completed when the Biennial Report is final.

21. Ensure the AFSSR includes required information addresses ECSU's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program. 

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 14 of the new 2013 ECSU AFSSR.
http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

22. Revise the sections of the AFSSR covering ECSU's response to sexual assault. Ensure the new policy statement addresses the requirements outlined in the Campus SaVE Act. (MHA will provide a sample statement for ECSU to adapt)

Pre-recommendation Action: This updated policy statement is on page 9 of the 2013 ECSU AFSSR. ECSU worked with Margolis Healy in updating the Sexual Assault Policy to include this new information. Please note the new provisions under the Campus SaVE Act are not required until 2014.
http://www.ecsu.edu/legal/docs/policymanual/Section900/900-4-1-3.pdf

23. Ensure ECSU police officers and administrative investigators receive training on the investigation and response to sexual and gender violence.

Pre-recommendation Action: In June 2013, University Police Officers and Campus Security Officers went through sexual violence and domestic violence training conducted by officers from a nationally accredited law enforcement agency, North Carolina Central University Police Department.

24. Obtain an accurate website or physical address where campus community members may obtain the required information. This information should be included in the 2013 AFSSR. 

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy statement is on page 3 of the new 2013 ECSU AFSSR.  http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

25. Train all police department employees and campus security authorities on Clery Act requirements. 

Pre-recommendation Action: On August 13, 2013, ECSU held a mandatory campus-wide Clery Act training session for all faculty and staff conducted by Steven Healy (managing partner for Margolis Healy & Associates) and Alyn Goodson (ECSU Interim Clery Coordinator/Asst. Gen. Counsel) during the Fall Faculty Institute. An online Clery training module for all Campus Security Authorities was created and placed on the Campus Safety webpage for use by all faculty and staff. http://www.ecsu.edu/safety/docs/CSAtrainingModule.pdf

Documented individualized training is currently being conducted by the Interim Clery Coordinator for all Campus Security Authorities. More in-depth training will be conducted by Margolis Healy & Associates in accordance with an existing retainer agreement in the next few weeks.

26. Implement a strict quality control and accountability process for approving reports and ensuring accurate classifications. Implement a process that requires multiple levels of report review. Training and quality control efforts are essential for accountability and accuracy of classifications of reported crimes.

Future Action: This "best practices" recommendation and classification training will be provided by Margolis Healy & Associates through the existing retainer agreement. In-depth classification and quality control training will be conducted within the upcoming weeks.

27. Enhance procedures for the reporting of all, and specifically, Clery Act, crimes.

Pre-recommendation Action: The Clery Compliance Committee developed an online reporting form to ensure Campus Security Authorities had the appropriate resources for reporting Clery Act crimes. This reporting form is highlighted in the online training module and can be found on the campus safety webpage here: http://www.ecsu.edu/safety/authorities.cfm

28. Adopt either a narrative-style format for disclosing Hate Crimes in the AFSSR or use the Hate Crime Data chart provided in this report. Generally, if there are no or few reported Hate Crimes, the narrative format will suffice.

Pre-recommendation Action: A narrative style format for defining hate crimes is noted on page 20 of the new 2013 AFSSR. In addition, it is noted on page 22 of the AFSSR that no hate crimes were reported for previous three calendar years. In the future, any additional information or best practices regarding hate crime data or narratives will be updated as necessary. http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

29. The Clery Act Compliance Task Force should identify all reportable geographic locations, including any separate campuses or other off-site locations.

Pre-recommendation Action: The Clery Compliance Committee, in conjunction with members from University Police and ECPD, identified all Clery geographic locations for ECSU. This list is retained by the Clery Coordinator.

30. Establish a process to notify the ECSU PD when real estate holdings status changes and refresh this review yearly, as Universities often buy/sell or otherwise make real estate holdings changes.

Future Action: This "best practices" recommendation will be implemented by the Clery Compliance Committee with the help of Margolis Healy & Associates through the existing retainer agreement.

31. Ensure ECSU PD members receive training on Southern Software and NIBRS reporting to allow for more accurate reporting and review.

Pre-recommendation Action: In June and July of 2013, Southern Software and NIBRS training were conducted by officers from a nationally accredited law enforcement agency, NCCU Police Department, and UNC-G Police Department.

32. ECSU PD should develop a report approval process that incorporates the review of the NIBRS and disposition coding to ensure the correct classification for Clery Act reporting purposes.

Future Action: This "best practices" recommendation will be conducted by Margolis Healy & Associates through the existing retainer agreement.

33. Document all decisions to unfound a report or apply the hierarchy rule.

Pre-recommendation Action: This was completed by Margolis Healy & Associates as a result of their in-depth review of crime statistics for the new 2013 AFSSR. This will also be the standard procedure for the Clery Compliance Committee and University Police.

34. Consider including an easily understood map in the 2013 ASR. The map should clearly identify and demark the three Clery geographical areas, including all residential facilities. 

Pre-recommendation Action: A campus map outlining the various buildings at ECSU was included on the last page of the new 2013 AFSSR. Residence Halls are clearly noted on the campus map. In the future, this "best practices" recommendation will include more detailed information regarding Clery geographical areas with respect to off-campus and immediately adjacent property.

35. Designate a trained individual to serve as ECSU's Clery Act Coordinator and ensure this person performs this function as a primary duty until the program is compliant. Ensure adequate backup for the Clery Act Coordinator.

Pre-recommendation Action: In June of 2013, ECSU appointed Alyn Goodson as the Interim Clery Coordinator whose primary duty was to coordinate all Clery Act compliance efforts. In addition to the Interim Coordinator, Clery Liaisons were appointed for each major department to ensure that Clery policies and procedures are implemented and monitored at the department level.

36. Identify, notify all CSAs on their responsibilities to report Clery Act crimes to the reporting structure ultimately established by ECSU.

Pre-recommendation Action: As previously noted, CSAs have been identified by each department Clery Liaison. On August 13, 2013, all faculty and staff members were notified of the reporting structure during the mandatory Clery training for faculty and staff.

37. Ensure formal documentation for all requests for information from CSAs. Ensure these records are maintained, as required.

Pre-recommendation Action: Formal documentation related to CSA training and other matters are retained by the Clery Coordinator. In the future, all other documentation will also be retained by the Clery Coordinator.

38. Maintain records of all CSA reported crimes.

Pre-recommendation Action: Campus Police has been designated as the office to maintain records of all CSA reported crimes.

39. Maintain any documentation that includes the justification for not disclosing a crime report believed to have been made not in "good faith."

Pre-recommendation Action: Campus Police has been designated as the office to maintain justification records of all CSA reported crimes not made in "good faith".

40. Assign and train personnel on their responsibility to request and review the statistics requested of appropriate local or State law enforcement agencies.

Pre-recommendation Action: Campus Police has been designated as the office to request statistics from local and state law enforcement agencies. Chief John Manley facilitated this requirement for the statistics included in the new 2013 AFSSR published by the Clery Compliance Committee.  Letters were sent via certified mail to external law enforcement agencies for documentation purposes.

41. Develop a formal process for requesting the required information.

Pre-recommendation Action: As previously noted, this process was developed and executed by the Chief of Police for statistical inclusion in the new 2013 AFSSR.

42. Document all actions to support the institution's good faith efforts to obtain the required crime statistics from local or State police.

Pre-recommendation Action: As previously noted, letters were sent via certified mail to law enforcement agencies. Those letters are retained by the Clery Coordinator.

43. Systematically identify all programs, activities, and locations in which it participates that may constitute a separate campus.

Pre-recommendation Action: ECSU does not have a separate campus; however, the Clery Compliance Committee will track and monitor all programs and activities that may constitute a separate campus in the future.

44. The Clery Act Compliance Task Force should develop and implement a Timely Warning Report Policy ensuring there is a clear distinction between these reports and emergency notifications or other informational safety messages. (See provided model policy).

Pre-recommendation Action: On August 26, 2013, ECSU Board of Trustees approved a Timely Warning Policy. This policy is in the ECSU Policy Manual and has been implemented by all key stakeholders of the university.  The policy can be found at the link below: http://www.ecsu.edu/legal/docs/policymanual/Section900/900-4-1-2.pdf

45. Develop appropriate procedures to implement the aforementioned policy.

Pre-recommendation Action: Training for this policy has been implemented to all key stakeholders of the university by the Chief of Police.

46. Implement a Timely Warning Report decision process and maintain a record of all decisions regarding the dissemination of reports. (See provided Timely Warning Notice Determination Form)

Pre-recommendation Action: The policy establishes the decision process for issuing a timely warning and all records regarding the dissemination of the report are retained by University Police.

47. Develop an ESCU PD standard operating procedure for creating, maintaining, and making available the Daily Crime Log.

Pre-recommendation Action: University Police developed an online Daily Crime and Fire Log tracking all criminal activity at ECSU. Procedures for maintaining this log have been established by the Chief of Police. These logs are located on the Campus Safety webpage. http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/logs.cfm

48. Ensure the procedure includes a process for making entries in the Log regarding crimes reports received from non-public safety CSAs.

Pre-recommendation Action: As previously stated, procedures for maintaining this log have been established by the Chief of Police.

49. Ensure all entries in the Daily Crime Log meet applicable requirements.

Pre-recommendation Action: All entries meet the requirements under the Clery Act.

50. Train duty supervisors to create Daily Crime Logs.

Pre-recommendation Action: Supervisors have been trained by the Chief of Police to create the Daily Crime Logs.

51. Revise the Emergency Response and Evacuation section of the ASFSR IAW the template provided with this report.

Pre-recommendation Action: The Emergency Response and Evacuation section was revised and published on page 6 of the new 2013 ASFSR.
http://www.ecsu.edu/campuspolice/docs/annual_safety_fire_report.pdf

52. Revise the protocols to ensure they are actionable by all responsible parties.

Pre-recommendation Action: The revised protocols have been noted in the new 2013 ASFSR and in the ECSU Emergency Response and Evacuation Notification Policy located in ECSU Policy Manual.
http://www.ecsu.edu/legal/docs/policymanual/Section900/900-4-1-1.pdf

53. Train responsible parties to activate the emergency notification system. ECSU should test their system on a quarterly basis and ensure that those responsible for activating the system are tested at least monthly (more for dispatchers).

Pre-recommendation Action: Key stakeholders have been trained on an ongoing basis to activate the notification system by the Chief of Police and software specialist. 

54. Revise the Missing Student Notification Policy to reflect Clery Act requirements.

Pre-recommendation Action: On August 26, 2013, the ECSU Board of Trustees approved the ECSU Missing Student Notification Policy.
http://www.ecsu.edu/legal/docs/policymanual/Section500/500-2-11.pdf

55. Coordinate the policy and associated procedures with the Elizabeth City Police Department.

Pre-recommendation Action: This policy and the associated procedures have been coordinated by the Chief of Police with a member of the Elizabeth City Police Department, Lieutenant Mike Boone.

56. Publish and distribute the Annual Fire Safety and Security Report in accordance with established requirements.

Pre-recommendation Action: The new 2013 AFSSR was distributed in accordance with the established requirements under the Clery Act.  An annual campus-wide notice, email, or letter was sent to campus members. Those efforts are documented.

57. Prominently place information about the AFSSR on ECSU's webpage.

Pre-recommendation Action: The new 2013 AFSSR is placed on the Campus Safety, Student Affairs, Human Resources, and the University Police webpages.

58. Review the process for identifying current students and employees to ensure they are receiving the required Notice of the Availability of the AFSSR.

Pre-recommendation Action: The Clery Coordinator worked with members of the Information Technology Department to identify current students and employees email addresses for notification purposes.  Campus members who did not have an email were notified via certified mail.

59. Develop and implement processes to ensure prospective students and employees are aware of the availability of the AFSSR. It is essential to conduct a complete review of all admissions and employment processes to ensure you identify all such processes.

Pre-recommendation Action: As previously stated, the Clery Coordinator worked with members of the Information Technology Department to ensure current and prospective students and employees are aware of the availability of the report. In the future, we will continue to monitor all admissions and hiring processes to ensure all campus members and prospective members are notified.

60. Ensure the notice of the availability of the Report contains the required information. (We have provided a sample with this report)

Pre-recommendation Action: The notice for the new 2013 AFSSR was compliant and contained the required information. 

61. Ensure the statistical data reported to ED is accurate and consistent with the data disclosed in the AFSSR and other mediums where the Department may elect to disclose crime statistics.

Future Action: When the ED reporting website is operational, ECSU will ensure that the data reported to that agency is accurate and consistent with the data in the AFSSR.

62. In those cases where ECSU discloses crime statistics above and beyond the crimes required by the Clery Act, explain how those crime categories differ from Clery Act requirements.

Future Action: When applicable, ECSU will ensure that an explanation is provided in the AFSSR if we disclose statistics beyond what is required.

With our new Clery infrastructure, and with the help of Margolis Healy & Associates, we will work tirelessly to continue to strengthen Elizabeth City State University's compliance with the Clery Act.