Little Sense of Urgency

The Clery Act of 1990, also known as the Jeanne Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, requires colleges and universities who take part in federal financial aid programs to keep a record of and make readily available crime statistics on or in the vicinity of the respective campus. Failure to do so can result in fines and denial of participation in federal financial aid programs. According to the Clery Act, universities and colleges must also have procedures in place, as part of an official emergency plan, to notify the campus community of such events.

Recent bomb threats at colleges and universities across the country have brought the Cleary Act into the national spotlight, according to a recent article published by http://nation.time.com. In question is why do some campus officials call for a full evacuation and others don’t call for one at all. A lot of whether to call a full, partial, or even no evacuation has to do with the circumstances of the situation. Another factor is that most bomb threats are just that, threats and not an actual bomb.

The question remains, should a bomb threat be taken seriously, even if most bomb threats are fake? The bigger question is, are officials willing to take the risk?

Even in the case of the University of Texas at Austin, where classes were recently cancelled and campus buildings emptied due to a bomb threat, officials waited for over an hour after the initial threat was issued. The caller had said that bombs were set to go off in multiple buildings in roughly 90 to 120 minutes. Thankfully, it was all a hoax, but what if it had not been?

It would seem even in the face of potential travesty that officials at college and university campuses nationwide have still not gotten the sense of urgency that is needed to protect our students and college staff.

For more information about security responses at nationwide colleges, visit: http://nation.time.com/2012/09/15/put-to-the-test-colleges-grapple-with-bomb-threats/