Crackdown on Campus Crimes
College students are heading back to school across the Carolinas, and federal guidelines have campus police taking extra steps to make sure schools are in compliance. News 13's Kimberly King met with the police staff at Western Carolina University to find out what extra steps they're taking.
The Clery Act is a federal law around for 20 years has strict protocols. Schools must report all crimes from weapons seized to sexual assaults, but the big push remains constantly educating students on how to stay safe.
Students at Western Carolina University say the school is plugged in with them. "We do get a lot of alerts on our phones and through our emails," says WCU Sophomore Halie Kervaski.
"We have a number of sexual assaults each year," says Campus Police Chief Ernie Hudson. "And we have an obligation to let people know those have occurred," he adds.
The Chief says the Clery Act always added more categories to report, including this year. "Concerning dating violence, harassment or stalking," he says. All reported to the department of education.
The Chief showed News 13's Kimberly King, the daily typed crime log. Tammy Hudson, Director of Emergency Services says "we can issue a message that takes over all the computers, all the digital signage." A desktop alert immediately goes out if an event occurs.
Education is key. For example, an intoxicated student is not capable of giving consent. "If you take advantage of someone who is too intoxicated to give consent you've committed a crime," says Chief Hudson.
Federal oversight of campus crimes largely came about following the tragic shootings at V.A. Tech. The chief at W.C.U. stays on top of security, his team is bringing in the latest technology including a phone app where students will be able to get alerts in real time on their phones.