The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has entered a settlement agreement after a review found deficiencies in crime and safety reporting between 2009-2017.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz announced Tuesday, following a six-year review that found several serious deficiencies in crime and safety reporting between 2009-2017.
“As I said in November, while the University has made many safety improvements and staffing changes since the review began in 2013, the shortcomings noted in it are nonetheless disappointing and do not meet our standards for excellence,” Guskiewicz wrote in an email to campus.
The review, completed in August 2019, cited violations in several areas including collecting, compiling and reporting crime statistics; defining campus geography; issuing timely warnings; and including required information in annual security and fire safety reports, as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act.
The University’s agreement with the Department of Education acknowledges several recent improvements and provides a clear path forward for continuing a comprehensive approach to campus safety. The agreement includes a $1.5 million fine and requires several enhancements and participation in a monitoring program over the next three years to further improve policies and practices related to the Clery Act and to ensure continued compliance.
Over the past year and a half, the University has taken steps to strengthen its public safety infrastructure, including hiring UNC Police Chief David Perry and creating the role of Vice Chancellor for Integrity and Risk Management, filled last year by George Battle to oversee critical safety and compliance functions. The University engaged Margolis Healy, a nationally recognized campus safety consulting firm, to assess campus processes and to make recommendations on how the University can more fully comply with federal crime reporting and fire safety rules.
The University also established the Campus Safety Commission to take a broad look at all aspects of community safety. Earlier this summer, the Commission issued its first report, which included a series of recommendations to enhance the campus community. The report was based on feedback from listening sessions last fall, as well as a campus town hall in January. The University will continue to review the report’s suggestions and share more about a response soon.
“Protecting the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors remains a critical priority for our University,” Guskiewicz wrote. “We are committed to putting the right people, training and resources in place to continuously improve and strengthen our Clery Act compliance and safety program, and to keep pace with the very best practices on college campuses nationwide.”