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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

University awaits Department of Education’s verdict on Clery Act deficiencies

Texas+State+students+walk+through+the+arch+Wednesday%2C+March+11%2C+2020%2C+near+the+Undergraduate+Academic+Center.

Texas State students walk through the arch Wednesday, March 11, 2020, near the Undergraduate Academic Center.

Investigations into Texas State’s Clery Act misreporting have been completed as university administrators await a final statement from the Department of Education.
Following reporting deficiencies identified in prior years’ Clery Act reports, the university has taken steps to rectify the numbers. According to Vice President for Finance and Support Services Eric Algoe, the university hired the services of Margolis Healy and Associates to review “all records that could have resulted in a Clery report” from the past three years.
“(Margolis Healy) have actually been working on campus, in large scale capacities since November, December. At times they’ve had up to a dozen people on campus,” Algoe said in an interview during the Student Government Roundtable March 2. “We will be able to definitively say we have done a thorough scouring of every record for the past three years. We will have to issue a revision to the Clery report; a few of the numbers are going to change.”
Algoe had not yet seen the revised report at the time of the interview, but was told the corrections were not “earth-shattering” and still needed to be corrected.
Texas State also hired a new full-time employee to oversee all Clery Act compliance. Kristina Morales was appointed as the Clery Act compliance specialist, effective Feb. 17. Morales’ role includes serving as the university’s designated campus safety survey administrator for Clery Act requirements; establishing and coordinating Texas State’s Clery Act Compliance Program; preparing, publishing and distributing the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report and identifying and training campus security authorities.
“In the past, Clery compliance was always kind of a shared responsibility among several people in the police department. This position now exists in the Office of the President,” Algoe said. “So we’ve removed any ambiguity about the importance of this by putting it at that kind of high level. It is a dedicated full-time person that all that they will do is Clery, their title is Clery compliance specialist. That’s what they did at the previous university so they bring that experience to Texas State.”
Final revised Clery Act numbers were due to the Department of Education March 6. The university sends the Department of Education updates every 30 days as part of the off-site review currently conducted by the department. It could take six to 18 months for the university to receive recommendations and the department’s independent investigations’ findings.
The University Star reached out to the Department of Education and was told: “it is the longstanding policy of the U.S. Department of Education not to comment on institutional oversight activities, program reviews, or investigations until the outcome officially has been communicated to the institution.”
The Department of Education’s Clery Center can issue fines up to $58,328 per Clery Act violation, depending on their investigative findings. Since the university just submitted their final revisions, Algoe said fines are a possibility.
“The cases that you hear about that are the most egregious typically involve some sort of cover-up: things were being swept under the rug, people were being quieted, etc.,” Algoe said. “There’s just no indication that any of that happened in Texas State. What happened was as individual crimes or Title IX allegations or even student judicial things were brought up, they were all dealt with appropriately. Nothing was mishandled. We just didn’t get the numbers in the report, which is a problem in and of itself, which we may very well face fines for.”
 

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