Monday is the deadline for Ohio’s public universities and colleges to report crime statistics. The Clery Act requires them to disclose the info by October 1 of each year. But according to a survey from Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, schools reported facing a myriad of problems along the way.
“There’s some ambiguity sometimes in how to report things, what definitions are,” Yost says. “And there really isn’t a lot of training available that would help them.”
Yost also found that universities had a hard time obtaining information on crimes that happened off campus. Yost says universities have incentive to comply, since there’s hefty fines for mistakes.
“They want to get it right, but I’m not sure that we’re really getting the level of data that federal law envisions,” Yost says.
And part of the issue may be in that law itself.
“The handbook that the United States Department of Education puts out is like 265 pages,” he says. “That seems like a lot for a reporting function. Perhaps there’s some things to be done to streamline the federal law.”
The auditor's office is also putting together an audit-compliance program.
“We didn’t measure the quality of what they were doing, or dig under the numbers to see what kind of controls or collection methods were in place,” he says.
The new program will look at the reliability of that information.