Widgets Magazine

New California law prompts change in campus crime reporting



As California updates a 25-year-old federal law about campus security, local Stanford authorities will now require all crimes to be reported directly to the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS).

Twenty-nine years ago, Jeanne Clery, a student at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, was raped and murdered by a peer in her dorm. Jeanne’s parents blamed lackluster campus security for her death, and the two fought against the inadequate crime information and warnings received by students. In 1990, the federal government passed the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities to disclose campus crime statistics in an annual report.

As of July 1 of this year, California’s updated crime reporting system went into effect. The update, entitled California Education Code 67380, states that all Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) will report crime to the police immediately.

At Stanford, a CSA can be any staff member responsible for campus security that does not work for the police. Typically, club advisors, Title IX coordinators and deans of students act as CSAs, who train annually to meet Clery requirements.

The federal government created the role of the CSA to ensure that a student would have a person to notify when they witnessed a crime.

“Sometimes students don’t feel comfortable talking to the police,” said Annette Spicuzza, clery compliance coordinator with the SUDPS. “[But] sometimes it takes a while for the CSAs to notify the Public Safety Department about a crime.”

Email alerts from the SUDPS each time a crime occurs will be distributed in a punctual manner with the new system, which includes a 24-hour hotline to receive any CSA reports.

“I can’t say for sure whether it will cause the [timely warning] system to go faster,” Spicuzza said. “There is always the opportunity, but I can’t say for sure yet.”

Although the law went into effect on July 1, the new system has not been tested, since fewer students live on campus in summer. However, Spicuzza predicts that once the school year begins, the campus will notice improvement.

“I think the [new crime reporting system] is great,” Spicuzza said. “People on this campus are very savvy and CSAs and the Public Safety Department have always worked well together.”

To send a CSA report, the Stanford Department of Public Safety can be reached via a 24-hour hotline at 650-222-5147.


Contact Kalpana Gopalkrishnan at kalpanagk1999 ‘at’ gmail.com.