Federal Regulations for Timely Warnings
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended under Title IV. The federal law requires all colleges and universities to have a notification and warning plan in place to alert the campus community of an emergency.
Crime Alerts are issued in compliance with the Higher Education Act (20 U.S.C.1092(f)). This act requires that a timely warning be issued when a: (A) Murder; (B) Sex Offense, forcible or non-forcible; (C) Robbery; (D) Aggravated Assault; (E) Burglary; (F) Motor Vehicle Theft; (G) Manslaughter; or (H) Arson occurs on Belmont facilities/ property and there is reason to believe that there is a continued threat to students and/or employees. The determination on whether an incident is considered a continued threat is based upon the following four questions:
- Is the incident in one of the above categories (A–H)?
- Did the incident occur in an area for which Belmont University Office of Campus Security must report statistics or at a location where OCS is the primary responder?
- Is the suspect known or unknown and still at large?
- Did the incident by its nature (A–D, G) or during the commission of the intended incident involve a crime against a person (E–F) or in the event of arson (H) occur in an occupied building?
If all of the above questions can be answered with a “yes,” then a Crime Alert will be issued. In addition, upon the discretion of the Chief of the Belmont University Office of Campus Security or his designee, a Crime Alert may be issued for any crime where there is a compelling need to get information to or from the Belmont community about a specific crime.
Crime Alerts should contain as much of the following information as possible:
- Date, time, location (general or specific), and summarized event description
- Suspect description and/or vehicle description
- Any special instructions that may be needed
- Important Numbers for OCS and MNPD and others if needed
Crime Alerts will be issued as soon as possible after the specific event. If the incident is a delayed report (more than 24 hours) by the victim, then the time and date the victim reported the incident will also be included in the report. Provided the above guidelines are met, nothing should be included in the Crime Alert that would hinder an ongoing police investigation. The Crime Alert will not identify the victim by name or address. The general description of the location may be given, for example, but not limited to, Belmont University, dorm, geographic location, etc.
Belmont University’s Office of Communications is the primary source for mass communication of campus emergencies to Belmont students, faculty and staff and is also responsible for coordinating with local media to further spread pertinent messages. Under the direction of the Vice President for Administration and University Counsel, the Office of Communications partners in all emergency situations with the Office of Campus Security and Residence Life/Student Affairs to provide targeted communication as needed to impacted parties, including parents and families. In the event of an emergency, Belmont University will, without delay and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless the notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.