The Clery Act requires universities across the country to report crimes on or near campus and stipulate the terms in which the reporting is to occur. In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case, Penn State is under investigation for its compliance with the act and has been trying to improve its efforts related to the law. Penn State Clery Compliance Coordinator Gabriel Gates recently said the university is looking to become a model school for Clery Act compliance. Gates said that a goal of expanding the act is to have the exact same reporting procedures to be occurring on every campus, no matter the size of their law enforcement. And though Gates launched a Clery Act training program to increase awareness of the law itself as well as its requirements, there needs to be more done. For students — and potential students — this report is an important source of information. Some students walk around this campus completely unaware of their surroundings. They see Penn State as Happy Valley — a bubble where nothing can go wrong. But, that’s not the case. We are not immune from crime. And the university needs to make this more readily known. The average person won’t take the time to seek out the Clery-mandated report, peppered with jargon unfamiliar to most. But the university could make this report more heavily publicized and easier to understand. Penn State could, for example, put the report more prominently on display on its admissions website.
By making this report more readily available, students and prospective students can make decisions about where to go, how to act and what to expect from our community. The report should pared down to more laymen’s terms — a summation of the report that people can look at and get a real grasp of the safety on campus.
The university ultimately needs to encourage students and prospective students to want to read this report. There is no reason a student should remain uninformed about safety issues regarding where they live. The university making this report more easily accessible would not only send a message to the public that the university takes this report seriously, but it also causes potential students and current students to understand that safety is paramount.