After Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ announcement of her plans to abrade certain sexual assault guidelines within Title IX, the Oct.1 deadline for Cal State Fullerton to submit its annual Clery report of on-campus sexual assault statistics has become more crucial than ever.
CSUF would face a number of penalties, should it fail to meet the deadline.
“If you don’t post it on time, and properly, then it’s a violation, and you can be fined by the Department of Education,” said Administrative Capt. John Brockie of the University Police Department. University Police submits the report annually on behalf of the university.
“(The Department of Education) can initiate an audit on their behalf. It’s very important,” Brockie said.
In April 2017, the fines for universities’ noncompliance with the Jeanne Clery Act were more than doubled to $54,789 per violation by the Department of Education.
Brockie said he’s confident the university will meet its deadline and that it will be posted on University Police’s website alongside an email notifying students, faculty and staff of the posting.
Between 2013 and 2015, 43 crimes were reported in or around CSUF’s main campus involving forcible sex offenses, domestic or dating violence and stalking, according to University Police’s 2016 Clery report.
The report, a requirement of the Clery Act, is especially significant this year as it comes on the heels of DeVos’ Thursday announcement at George Mason University to revoke Title IX’s sexual assault policies on the belief that the process of addressing such crimes is inherently flawed
“This campus official, who may or may not have any training in adjudicating sexual misconduct, is expected to render a judgment, a judgment that changes the direction of both students’ lives,” DeVos said in her announcement.
Brockie’s confidence in University Police’s ability to address sexual assault remains unfazed by DeVos’ remarks.
“When you talk about sexual assault, there’s a lot of potential issues,” Brockie said. “From a criminal standpoint, I’m very confident that we do investigate sexual assault allegations properly and that we follow up on them, and follow criminal procedures and file them with the district attorney.”
Brockie said that sexual assault is the most underreported serious crime on campus, and that a “culture of trust” between survivors and the university is necessary.
Recently, CSUF took its next step forward in sexual assault reporting with the rollout of a Title IX website, which CSUF Title IX coordinator Mary Beccerra called “especially exciting” in an Aug. 30 press release due to the ease with which a potential victim can use the site’s online reporting tool.
It’s unclear what will happen to the site in the wake of DeVos’ plans.
Associate director of news media services Paula Selleck said in an email that CSUF’s approach to providing appropriate and thorough response to reports of sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence and stalking is governed by systemwide policies, as well as the university’s response.
“Our institution remains committed to policies and practices that seek to ensure a fair system for all parties in cases of sexual harassment and sexual violence,” Selleck said.