New proposed federal regulations that would overhaul how colleges and universities respond to and report campus emergencies, fires in student residences on campus, missing students and hate crimes were published by the U.S. Department of Education.
The new guidelines would implement new laws passed by Congress last year and reflect the most significant improvements to campus safety guidelines in a decade. The public will have an opportunity to comment through Sept. 21, 2009, with the final rules to be published by November 1.
Under the new guidelines colleges would, among other things, have to articulate how they will confirm "all hazards" emergencies on campus and issue immediate notifications to the affected segment or segments of their campus population. They will also have to report an expanded list of hate crime statistics including intimidation and theft. Colleges with student residential facilities on campus will have to disclose the level of fire safety in residences along with three years worth of statistics on fires as well as fire related deaths and injuries. Colleges with student residential facilities will also have to establish and disclose a policy for dealing with missing students as a part of their annual campus security report.
The complete proposed regulations, which also include regulations dealing with non-campus safety issues, may be accessed at either http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-18550.htm or http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-18550.pdf online.