Ed Purchase, the Department of Public Safety’s Clery Act specialist, ensures that the school properly follows regulations.
“In many respects, it’s a dream job,” he said.
Each violation of the Clery Act, which requires that the University practice transparent reporting of serious crimes on campus and its surrounding community, can cost UNC $35,000 in federal fines.
The University is under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights over charges that it retaliated against a student for filing a sexual assault report. Purchase, who began working for the University in April, said the day after he started working was the day federal investigators descended upon the University.
Purchase’s responsibilities include combing through daily crime reports for information that must be included in the UNC’s Clery disclosure. He said the new sexual assault guidelines and the Violence against Women Act significantly increased his workload.
Purchase, who served in the U.S. Army and National Guard between September 2001 and February 2009, said he missed being a part of something bigger than himself.
Ew Quimbaya-Winship, the University’s Deputy Title IX coordinator, works with Purchase regularly.
“It is a collaborative relationship that will help the University better adress violence on campus,” he said.
Purchase said Clery Act reporting was meant to boil down to a trifold pamphlet that could be handed out to students at orientation, but the scope of the program has changed. The 2014 report is 75 pages long and contains everything from sexual assault statistics to information about rabies.
Randy Young, a spokesman for DPS, said Purchase helps with increasing transparency and day-to-day reporting.
“Ed has been an incredible resource for officers,” he said.
Purchase, who previously worked in public safety at Broward College in Florida, said UNC is leading the way among universities.
“The department’s motto is ‘Protecting North Carolina’s Future,’ and they take that seriously,” he said.
But the department does not hear all complaints. Some come through confidential sources like Counseling and Psychological Services. The Clery Act makes allowance for this type of reporting.
“The individual is empowered to say, ‘No, Title IX, I don’t want you,’” Purchase said.
The DPS police blotter shows five reports of rape since Sept. 20. Two are under investigation. The rest are not active Department of Public Safety investigations and occurred off campus.
Purchase said DPS respects the wishes of victims.
“This sexual assault policy is one of the only ones of its kind,” he said. “It’s about protecting our students and making sure they can study in a safe and secure environment.”