A bill requiring colleges and universities to release crime statistics to students, employees, and prospective students, was approved by the U.S. Senate yesterday. The bill, called the "Student Right-To-Know and Campus Security Act," now goes to President Bush. The measure mandates that federally-aided institutions submit on-campus and some off-campus crime data to the federal government. It requires that information on violent crime be reported immediately. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure Monday. The Senate passed the bill by a voice vote yesterday. Sponsors say the bill is needed because there is no comprehensive data on campus crime. Out of 3000 colleges and universities and 5000 other federally-aided, post-secondary schools, only 352 provide crime statistics to the FBI. ''It is time to take the mask off the idea that a college campus is a completely serene and protected environment,'' said Representative William Goodling (R-Pa.), a former York County teacher and principal who is the measure's House sponsor. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), introduced the bill in the Senate. Assistant to the President William Epstein said yesterday that he supports the federal bill because students should have access to such information and because it puts the University "on the same playing field as other colleges." "Generally I think it's a good thing for this to be in place on the federal level," he said. Admissions officials were unavailable yesterday to comment on the bill's potential effects on recruiting. According to a state police report released this summer, the University tallied the second highest number of crimes -- most of which were larcenies and purse snatchings -- of over 150 Pennsylvania college campuses, only behind Pennsylvania State University. Epstein said the University supplies more information than is required by law, publishing on and off campus crime statistics each week in The Almanac. He said he does not think the published reports make the University seem any less safe than other urban institutions, adding that no campus is completely safe. "Tragically . . . being away from an urban area is no guarantee that one is not going to be a victim of a crime," he said. "You're fooling yourself in thinking that going to a suburban or rural college makes you completely safe and that you don't have to worry about the realities of everyday life." The movement to require colleges to release crime information was spearheaded by Security on Campus, an organization founded by Howard and Connie Clery, parents of a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in 1986 by another student. "We are delighted to say the least that all the Clerys' hard work and dedication have paid off," said Lynda Getchis, an assistant in the organization. "Throughout, the public has supported them to continue their efforts." The measure is also coupled with another requiring colleges and universities to release graduation rates of all students and students on sports scholarships. Schools would also have to make data available on athletic department revenues and expenditures. The Associated Press contributed to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
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