ECSU crime report had holes

A report published earlier this month concluded that Elizabeth City State University “was substantially out of compliance” with federal regulations for campus security in May 2013, when city law enforcement discovered a total of 127 reports of crime uninvestigated by campus police.

The Clery Act, required by the federal government, provides standard policies for colleges and universities to report crime statistics and develop emergency procedures. Failure to comply with the Clery Act affects an institution’s ability to receive federal student aid funds.

ECSU hired the campus safety consulting firm Margolis Healy and Associates, whose clients include the UNC system, to conduct an internal assessment of its Clery Act compliance in May.

The final report included 62 recommendations, including updates to ECSU’s crime reporting procedures and mandatory Clery Act compliance trainings. According to a memorandum from Alyn Goodson, ECSU’s interim Clery coordinator, the university took pre-recommendation action on all but five recommendations in anticipation of the report’s findings.

ECSU outlines future actions on the remaining five recommendations in the memorandum.

“The relevance of the report is to implement those recommendations at ECSU,” Goodson said in an email. “This will be accomplished through an existing retainer agreement (with Margolis Healy).”

The retainer agreement will last until July, Goodson said.

He and Steven Healy, managing partner at Margolis Healy, conducted a campuswide training for all university employees in August, Goodson said. The firm Margolis Healy will conduct further in-depth trainings for university officials as a part of its retainer agreement.

Former ECSU police chief Sam Beamon and former Chancellor Willie Gilchrist announced their resignations in May as the State Bureau of Investigation announced its inquiry into potential witness tampering and obstruction of justice on campus. Beamon stepped down immediately, and Gilchrist served until June 30.

In May, The Virginian-Pilot reported that multiple sexual assaults reported to ECSU police from before 2008-11 were omitted in the university’s annual Clery Act crime reports.

Since May, Elizabeth City police have been looking into the 127 cases that were not investigated by the campus police. They finished looking into 113 investigations, including 12 cases of either sexual assault, sexual battery, rape or peeping. Out of the 12, only two cases — both involving sexual battery — led to arrests.

In April, the Department of Education fined Yale University $155,000 for failing to comply with the Clery Act, which included four fines of $27,500 for failure to report a sexual assault in its crime statistics.

There are currently three pending federal investigations into UNC-CH’s handling of sexual assault cases — including one on Clery Act compliance that began in April.

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