A campus security authority (CSA) is an official of Metropolitan State University who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student discipline and campus judicial proceedings. An official is defined as any person who has the authority and the duty to take action or respond to particular issues on behalf of our institution.
Examples of individuals (outside of the public safety office) who generally meet the criteria for being campus security authorities include…
- The dean of students who oversees a student center or student extracurricular activities
- A faculty advisor to a student group;
- A Title IX coordinator;
- An ombudsperson (including student ombudspersons);
- The director of a campus health or counseling center;
- Victim advocates or others who are responsible for providing victims with advocacy services, such as assisting with disciplinary action or court cases;
- Members of a sexual assault response team (SART) or other sexual assault advocates; and
- Officers from local law enforcement or public safety who are contracted by the institution to provide campus safety related services.
Any of these individuals, who are asked to report crimes, are also CSAs. These individuals could include Physicians in a campus health center, counselors, including peer counselors (except for professional counselors) and health educators, including peer health educators.
What Does a Campus Security Authority Do?
The function of a campus security authority is to immediately report any crimes to the official or office designated by the institution to collect crime report information, such as the director of public safety and security department, those allegations of Clery Act crimes during the last calendar year that were made in good faith on the university property. The property includes sidewalks, roads and contiguous sidewalks on the other side of the road.
In addition, any crimes that occurred at leased facilities should be reported also... this list should only include hallways, restrooms, lobbies, stairwells or elevators leading to those rooms and the parking lots used by our students at leased facilities.
What Shouldn’t a Campus Security Authority Do?
A campus security authority is not responsible for determining authoritatively whether a crime took place; that is the function of the safety personnel. A campus security authority should not try to apprehend the alleged perpetrator of the crime. That too is the responsibility of campus safety. It’s also not a CSA’s responsibility to try and convince a victim to contact the safety office or law enforcement if the victim chooses not to do so.
The Clery Act regulations do not address coordinating your crime reporting process or training campus security authorities, however, the role of CSAs is vital to compliance with the law, the below information offers valuable information for CSA’s to consider.
The role of a CSA
The Clery Act is a federal law that requires the institution to identify individuals and organizations that meet the definition of a campus security authority. CSAs have an important role in complying with the law.
CSA crime reports are used by the school to:
- Fulfill its responsibility to annually disclose Clery crime statistics, and
- To issue timely warnings for Clery crimes that pose a serious or continuing threat to the campus community.
If an individual reporting an incident needs assistance, a CSA should explain how to get help from the safety office. Let a victim know that help is available even if he or she does not want an investigation conducted. The decision to act on this option is the victim’s. In the midst of an emergency situation, such as a physical assault, however, a CSA should contact the campus safety or call 911, as appropriate.
Provide reporting materials
Good recordkeeping can help minimize the chances of double reporting crimes. Suggested materials are:
- A list of Clery crimes and definitions.
- Hard copy or electronic Crime Report forms for documenting criminal incidents.
Importance of documentation
If CSAs are unsure whether an incident is a Clery crime, or even if it’s criminal in nature, they should report it to the safety office.
- Provide as much information about a criminal incident as possible to aid safety and to categorize the crime.
- CSA crime reports should include personally identifying information if available. This is important for safety purposes and to avoid double counting crimes. The Clery statistical disclosures based on those reports, however, must be kept anonymous; no personally identifying information will be disclosed.
- If a victim doesn’t want the report to go any further than the CSA, the CSA should explain that he or she is required to submit the report for statistical purposes, but it can be submitted without identifying the victim.
The need for timely report submission
If a crime is reported to a CSA, but goes no further than that, the school won’t have fulfilled its obligation under the law, and the campus community might not have the information they need to stay safe on campus.
Additional information can be found in the university's campus security reports.