Dear Carolina Community,
I write to inform you that the University has entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, following a six-year review that found several serious deficiencies in our crime and safety reporting between 2009-2017 as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act.
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. The review, completed in August 2019, cited violations in several areas including collecting, compiling and reporting crime statistics; defining campus geography to meet Clery Act criteria; issuing timely warnings; and including required information in annual security and fire safety reports.
Our 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.
Carolina is committed to preventing, responding to and accurately reporting crimes, and to issuing timely notice about any known safety threats to our campus community. Over the past year and a half, we have strengthened our 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. We engaged Margolis Healy, a nationally recognized campus safety consulting firm, to assess our campus processes and to make recommendations on how the University can more fully comply with federal crime reporting and fire safety rules.
We also established a Campus Safety Commission to take a broad look at all aspects of community safety. Earlier this summer, the Commission issued its first report that included a series of recommendations to enhance our campus community. The report was based on feedback from listening sessions last fall, as well as a campus town hall in January. The commission facilitated tough conversations, challenged assumptions, and strengthened our community. We continue to review the report’s suggestions and will share more about our response soon.
Protecting the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors remains a critical priority for our University. 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. Our campus community deserves nothing less.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz