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Iowa State University Changing ‘Timely Warning’ Practice

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AMES, Iowa - Officials at Iowa State University were criticized this week after an audit suggested the school did not comply with federal law in regards to how a university must disseminate information to students and faculty on campus about crimes like sexual assault.

The Clery Act requires all universities and colleges to send "timely warnings" to their students, faculty and staff regarding dangerous crimes that are considered an on-going threat to campus, like sexual assaults. While the act requires timely warnings, it does not specify how to go about delivering them. The University of Iowa sends notifications in the form of emails and phone-calls. Iowa State University, until January of this year, posted the incidents on their university police website. The audit, published in June, looked at the school's practices from 2011-2013 and claimed the institution was not in compliance with the law.

"I think the issue here, for the three years covered in this audit, we had more emphasis on posting this information, in certain circumstances, rather than always sending out a mass email," said Executive Director of University Relations John McCarroll.

Officials at Iowa State said the Clery Act does not outline exactly how a university must deliver timely warnings, and therefore they don't necessarily agree with the audit's claim that they weren't in compliance. Regardless, they said they've made that change since January and will continue to improve their practices based off other suggestions made in the audit.

The Iowa Board of Regents is expected to review the audit in their next meeting.


1 Comment

  • Leah

    I’m not saying that ISU has been remiss, but back in the early 80s, I was told by someone who was in a position to know that ISU tried to keep crime reports quiet because they didn’t want parents to think it was an unsafe place to send their kids to school. Hopefully, as the years have rolled by, the warning cry has changed and will become even more transparent and timely.

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