Iowa State Adjusts Crime Alert Warning Strategies
Iowa State University has changed the way it alerts students about crime after internal auditors found the school did not meet Clery Act requirements.
The school's recently abandoned practice of posting "crime alerts" on the campus police website didn't meet the requirements of the Clery Act, according to the Iowa City Press Citizen.
"Continuing the practice of using website postings only for timely warnings would prevent effective notification of ongoing threats to the campus community," auditors warned in the report, released in response to a request from The Associated Press.
The report said school officials would develop new guidelines for when and how to issue warnings in accordance with the Clery Act, which requires schools to report crime data and warn about crimes that happen on campus.
"University lawyer Keith Bystrom said that ISU started sending warnings in mass emails in the spring, after auditors identified the problem during a routine review. He said posting the information online wasn't meant to hide crime reports, noting that news outlets knew where to look and helped publicize them," said the Iowa City Press Citizen.
The law has also been a challenge for Iowa's two other public universities, said the Iowa City Press Citizen, noting that the the U.S. Department of Education fined the University of Northern Iowa $110,000 last year for violations uncovered during an earlier review, which showed the school failed to compile and disclose accurate crime statistics and failed to adequately distribute a required annual security report. And the University of Iowa changed its practice last year to issue timely warnings more often through mass emails.