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Revisiting DeBowes (2014), Student conduct administrator knowledge of the statistical reporting obligations of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act




By
Ameila Wood, Western Illinois University Student Activities Office Manager

The title may be a mouthful, but this insightful study was awarded the 2015 Dissertation of the Year Award from ASCA. The research and study instrument asking to classify and score Clery Act offenses accurately was also shared in the Director's track of the 2015 Gehring Academy. Fortunately, we didn't have to reveal our answers because, if we had, I wonder how many of us would have aced that quiz. After all, this is what student conduct professionals are tasked with as a part of conduct work, right? 


By Ameila Wood, Western Illinois University Student Activities Office Manager

The title may be a mouthful, but this insightful study was awarded the 2015 Dissertation of the Year Award from ASCA. The research and study instrument asking to classify and score Clery Act offenses accurately was also shared in the Director's track of the 2015 Gehring Academy. Fortunately, we didn't have to reveal our answers because, if we had, I wonder how many of us would have aced that quiz. After all, this is what student conduct professionals are tasked with as a part of conduct work, right?
 
DeBowes surveyed 2,349 ASCA members to examine student conduct administrator's knowledge that is commensurate with their duties. Alarmingly, less than 1% of members were able to accurately classify statistics in accordance with the Clery Act. Specifically, the "Clery Act" requires institutions receiving any form of Title IV federal student aid to collect and annually publish crime statistics. Ultimately, the reporting obligations are summarized and poured into an annual security report, outlining the institution's reported crime statistics for the preceding three calendar years. So this is a pretty big deal and it starts with student conduct professionals accurately classifying and scoring student conduct offenses. This is why Dr. DeBowes asks student conduct professionals to consider the question: If quizzed right now, would you be able to classify and score offenses accurately?
 
Brilliant in its simplicity and yet challenging in its execution, DeBowes research draws the reader in with his introductory statement, “When Tarleton State University (TSU) senior journalism student Erin Cooper-Baize requested more than 1,900 pages of TSU police records under a Texas sunshine law, she surely underestimated the impact it would have on the future of TSU.” (DeBowes, 2014, p.1). The juxtaposition between the opening storyline and the violent history that brought about the Clery Act demonstrates the timeliness and urgent need for scholarship in this area.
 
DeBowes' topic definitely provides food for thought in that it is both intriguing and provides an opportunity to develop a baseline measure upon which to make informed decisions for training curricula, for developing a comprehensive risk management strategy, and for all manner of policy concerns such as addressing liability issues for noncompliance. Moreover, the comprehensive literature review includes the legislative history and subsequent amendments, offering a glimpse into the evolving nature of higher education law with VAWA (2012) & SaVE (2013) (p.19).
 
DeBowes' study is available on ProQuest. I invite you to challenge yourself to respond to the scenarios to examine your level of expertise and see how well you score (Appendix B., p.113). Note the elegance of the statistical analyses which are deceptive in their simplicity yet the results are relevant, thought-provoking, and timely for student conduct and higher education professionals who absolutely have a need-to-know.

Please join us May 25th for Mike DeBowes' webinar presentation “What Student Conduct Administrators Need to Know About the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting”. 

*Amelia Wood requested and received permission from Dr. DeBowes to adapt his study for her dissertation titled, College student personnel knowledge of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA. Proposal presentation in June, 2017 at Illinois State University. 

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