Interim chancellor: Report detailing UNC’s crime response, reporting is ‘extremely concerning’

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The United States Department of Education released the results of a six-year review into the University of North Carolina’s compliance with reporting crime and safety statistics.

The review was prompted by two complaints filed in 2013 and evaluated reporting issues between 2009 and 2016.

Under The Clery Act, institutions are required to produce and distribute annual security reports containing campus crime statistics.

The Department of Education’s first report, released in 2017, found nine violations by UNC.

Those include collecting, compiling and reporting crime statistics; defining campus geography to meet Clery Act criteria; issuing timely warnings; and including required information in annual security and fire-safety reports.

The report states “such impairment resulted in the systemic failure to provide students and employees with important campus crime information and services essential to their safety and security.”

The final report completed in August and released Monday said that after the initial review, the university acknowledged its mistakes and strengthened its compliance.

However, the report said it was clear that UNC took remedial steps because of the Department of Education, and that “no such action would have been taken if the agency had not intervened by conducting this review.”

The Department of Education said it remains concerned about UNC’s willingness to comply due to the university’s inability to provide accurate and complete responses to the initial report.

The report said the Department of Education will continue to monitor the university’s progress, and that UNC could potentially face fines from the federal government.

Monday night, UNC Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz responded to the report in saying the university has been cooperating fully with the Department of Education.

“While we have made many safety improvements and staffing changes since 2013, the shortcomings noted in the review are extremely concerning, disappointing, and do not meet the University’s high standards,” said Guskiewicz.

Guskiewicz said the university is working with the Department of Education on how best to move forward.

He said on Tuesday reviewers from a nationally recognized consulting firm will be on campus to recommend how the university can fully comply with federal crime reporting procedures.

In addition, Guskiewicz said the university will provide more training for its police officers and hire a new vice chancellor for institutional integrity and risk management.

“We will continue to invest in resources and training to ensure the University has the right tools and procedures to accurately prevent, respond to and report crimes, and issue timely notice of any known safety threats to the campus community,” Guskiewicz said in a statement.

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