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Clery FAQ

A Campus Security Authority, or CSA, is defined by four different groups of individuals often found on college campuses. These groups are determined and defined by the Department of Education:

  • Any individual(s) who have responsibility for campus security but who do not constitute as campus law enforcement (e.g., an individual who is responsible for monitoring the entrance into institutional property).
  • Any individual or organization specified by an institution to which students and employees should report criminal offenses. These are individuals the university directs the campus community to for reporting criminal incidents in addition to police or security-related personnel.
  • An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, 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 the institution.
  • A campus police department, such as UTPD, are considered CSAs. Any Clery incidents reported to UTPD, even those not reported through a law enforcement report, are reportable under the Clery Act. Non-commissioned security staff are also considered CSAs.

More than 90% of CSAs are unaffiliated with law enforcement

Under the Clery Act, CSAs are obligated to report Clery Act qualifying crimes which occurred on campus, in public areas bordering campus and in certain non-campus buildings owned or controlled (leased) by the university. The intent of including non-law enforcement personnel in the CSA role (which make up more than 90% of CSAs) is to acknowledge that some community members and students may be more inclined to report incidents to other campus-affiliated individuals instead of the police.

CSAs are responsible for reporting allegations of Clery Act crimes that are reported to them in their capacity as a CSA. This means that CSAs are not responsible for investigating or reporting incidents that they overhear students talking about in a hallway conversation; that a classmate or student mentions during an in-class discussion; that a victim mentions during a speech, workshop, or any other form of group presentation; or that the CSA otherwise learns about in an indirect manner.

A campus security authority is not responsible for determining authoritatively whether a crime took place—that is the function of law enforcement personnel if the individual chooses to report the incident to police.

It’s also not a CSA’s responsibility to try and convince a victim to contact law enforcement if the victim chooses not to do so.

The criminal offenses for which CSAs are required to report are murder/non-negligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, rape, fondling, incest, statutory rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, liquor law violations, drug abuse violations, and weapons violations (including carrying and possessing).

CSAs are also required to report statistics for bias-related (hate) crimes for all of the above offenses in addition to larceny-theft, vandalism, intimidation, simple assault, and damage/destruction/vandalism of property.

These incidents should be reported on the Campus Security Authority Incident Report Form located under the Campus Security Authority menu tab.

For more information on these offenses and their definitions, see the Clery Crimes and Locations menu tab.

To qualify as reportable, a Clery Act crime must have occurred in one of the following locations:

On-campus property: Any building or property owned or controlled by the university within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the university in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the university’s educational purpose, including buildings or property the location described herein that is owned by the university but controlled by another person and which is frequently used by students.

On-campus residential life buildings and Greek houses

Non-campus property: Any non-campus property or building owned or controlled (leased) by the university that is frequently used by students and is not within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area of the institution.

Public Property: Any public property located immediately adjacent to, and accessible from campus, including public garages, thoroughfares, sidewalks, streets, lands, parks, and beaches.

To see a map of UTK’s Clery Campus Map, please go to the Clery Map menu tab.

A Safety Notice, which is called a Timely Warning in the Clery (Campus Safety) Act, is only sent when a crime occurs on campus property that poses a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community. As it’s easy to assume that all crime would pose a threat to campus, there are individuals from a variety of departments who discuss any known details of the incident to determine if it falls under Clery Act regulations where the campus needs to be immediately notified via a Safety Notice.

The purpose of a Safety Notice/Timely Warning is not to notify the community every time a sexual assault occurs on campus. Therefore, not every sexual assault results in the issuance of a Safety Notice. We evaluate each report to determine if a Safety Notice should be issued.  This protocol is based on guidance by the Clery Center and includes evaluation of an ongoing threat to the campus community. We provide information through the Daily Crime Log which reflects all reports or events that take place on campus.   We want our campus community to be responsive to Safety Notices and we issue them only when we have information that requires action by our community to ensure safety.

The purpose of the Clery Act is to provide information to the campus community so they can make informed decisions for their personal safety, and the safety of others. By providing crime and safety information in a variety of ways, the Clery Act enables the community to take charge of their safety. Even if a Safety Notice is not issued, the community should still be aware of crime on campus as UT Public Safety assists our community by making information readily available. All crime reported to a CSA or UTPD is posted every business day on our Daily Crime Log. The crime log is available anytime online, or a hard copy is available during normal business hours at the UT Police Department. Even if a Safety Notice is not issued for a sexual assault or other crime reportable in the Clery Act, it is still included in our annual statistics and reported to the Department of Education. Whether a Safety Notice is issued or not, the students involved are still offered the same amount of services, safety measures, and support.

A Safety Notice is only a small piece of the picture when a sexual assault is reported. To ensure we are utilizing our notification system in the best way possible, only incidents posing a serious and ongoing threat to campus is considered for a Safety Notice, and each decision is made on a case-by-case basis. The crime log is always available to see what is occurring on and near campus. If anyone feels they need immediate assistance, UTPD is available 24 hours a day, and the Offices of Title IX and Student Conduct are available during regular business hours.

For Safety Notices and Clery statistics, crimes are classified according to the regulations of the Clery Act mandated by the Department of Education. Though state law may categorize an incident differently, Clery definitions and classifications are strictly followed when labeling an incident for Clery reporting purposes. For a list of Clery Act crimes and their definitions, please visit the Clery Crimes and Locations menu tab.

The term fondling is not a university term nor a state law term, but a Clery Act term. The Department of Education regulates the Clery Act, how it is practiced and strictly enforces its policies. In 2013, the Violence Against Women Act was signed and amended the Clery Act. It was at that time that the Department of Education changed the way universities classified certain crimes. Prior to 2014, sexual assaults were categorized by either forcible sex offenses or non-forcible sex offenses. In 2014, that mandate was changed and we are now required to categorize sexual assaults as rape, fondling, statutory rape, and incest.

Since the Clery Act is a federal law, it typically follows the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) to define and classify crimes. Fondling is a term used in the FBI crime code so that is why the Clery Act uses that term. If the same assault was classified by local law enforcement it would be a sexual battery; however, the Clery Act does not use nor are universities allowed to use local crime code to categorize offenses when it comes to Clery Act regulations (i.e. timely warnings, Clery crime statistics).

Fondling is defined as, the touching of private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

When a CSA receives crime information reportable under the Clery Act, they will submit a CSA report. CSAs simply report what they know. If a CSA is unsure if the incident is a Clery crime, if it happened on a Clery location, or if it was even a crime at all, they will still report the incident. The Clery office will decide the classification of the crime and how it should be categorized. The Clery office may contact the CSA for additional information if necessary. As always, people and their safety are our main concern, in addition to reporting, CSAs will assist the victim in obtaining help if needed such as medical, or counseling services.

A CSA is not responsible for determining authoritatively whether a crime took place—that is the function of law enforcement personnel. A CSA should not try to apprehend the alleged perpetrator of the crime. That too is the responsibility of law enforcement. It is also not a CSA’s responsibility to try and convince a victim to contact law enforcement if the victim chooses not to do so.

Statistics are compiled by the Clery Coordinator. Data is collected from UTPD, UT Student Conduct, UT Campus Security Authorities, Knoxville Police Department, and other applicable law enforcement agencies for incidents that occurred on UT owned or controlled properties. This information is published in the university’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report on or before October 1 annually.

A CSA report cannot be confidential, even if the person who reported the incident to the CSA requested that they keep the report confidential. However, crime statistics and safety notifications are anonymous and no personal identifiers are disclosed.

There are two forms of notifications. Immediate notifications, or UT Alert, and timely notifications, or as we call them, Safety Notices. The university is federally mandated to send these notifications when a Clery-reportable crime occurs on university owned or controlled property that is a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. The university supports this mandate and believes it’s an important part of keeping the community safe. For more information on Clery mandated notifications, visit the Safety Notice page.

No. The University is federally mandated by the Clery Act, which is strictly enforced by the Department of Education, to notify you of these incidents through timely warning messages. Though we are federally mandated to send these to you, it is always your choice on whether or not you decide to read them.

The Clery Act does not mandate what information should be included in a Safety Notice (timely warning). However, Safety Notices will usually include date the incident was reported, the date and a general time frame the incident occurred, location (typically a general location will be given when a sexual assault occurs in an on-campus residence hall to protect the identity of the victim), a brief description of the incident, and safety tips.

Names of the victim or suspect will generally be withheld to protect the identity of the victim. If the incident is reported through a CSA report, often times the name of the victim and/or suspect is not reported. If the incident was reported through a police report, names are not released due to the ongoing investigation.

The intent of a Safety Notice is to inform members of the campus community of specific crimes so they may make informed decisions for their safety and the safety of others. The notification includes information that would promote safety and that would aid in the prevention of similar crimes.

Jillian Paciello

Clery Compliance Coordinator