Keeping campus safe

Sep 012011
Authors: Sarah Fenton

Though they might not know it, many CSU community members, from resident assistants to Greek Life advisors, are required by federal law to report crimes on campus.

Every Tuesday until the end of September, Joan Williams, the records manager for the CSU Police Department, is teaching CSU community members about these responsibilities. These community members are called CSAs, or campus security authorities.

“We have a responsibility to protect victims,” Williams said Tuesday during her second session of CSA training. During the training, the three attendees learned about their role, the crime reporting process and specific crime definitions.

CSAs are classified as anyone who has significant interaction with students. They are specifically defined by the Clery Act, which by federal law mandates that CSAs report crimes they have witnessed, or if they come in contact with a witness of a crime.

The Clery Act came about in 1986, when 19-year-old Jeanne Clery’s decision to attend Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. ultimately led to her rape and murder inside her dorm room.

Clery’s parents became proponents of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, or the Clery Act, which significantly changed the way college campuses nationwide react to crime within their boundaries.

More than 20 years later, the Clery Act still has a presence on college campuses. Williams is tasked with making sure CSU community members comply with the law.

Heather Blair, an alternate for the Administration Professional Counsel and biological safety officer, took the training after she got an email recommending she go.

“I’m in different areas and I’m in different buildings, so I said ‘well I should probably do this just in case.’ I feel like people might come talk to me,” Blair said. “I always knew I could go to the police, so I don’t know if it changed what I would have done, I would have done the exact same thing.”

Blair also said that she received a better grasp of police jargon, which in many cases can be the most intimidating part of reporting a crime.

“People may not always be familiar with the terminology,” Williams said. “It’s really important, I feel like it’s a lot of good information to get out to the public even if they’re not CSAs.”

This year, Williams has had six total CSAs attend the first two trainings. The remaining three are scheduled to take place throughout September, each with several openings. For more information on the CSA trainings, visit

_Collegian writer Sarah Fenton can be reached at _

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