Claire McCaskill Would Kill Law that Requires Schools to Warn Students About Active Shooters

July 1, 2015

By Greg Piper at The College Fix

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is annoyed that the Clery Act, which requires colleges to compile crime stats and warn students of live threats on campus, has become mostly an exercise in paperwork, in her view.

So she wants to kill it entirely.

McCaskill told the Campus Safety National Forum Thursday that the 25-year-old law, named after murdered college student Jeanne Clery,  “doesn’t accomplish squat” and that her “goal is to remove it,” Campus Safetyreports:

McCaskill’s comments came in the context of espousing her own pending legislation in the U.S. Senate called the Campus Safety and Accountability Act (CASA).

“This bill is not Clery that causes paperwork that doesn’t accomplish squat,” she said bluntly, adding that the legislation offers “more due process, real accountability and access to a confidential advisor for sexual assault victims” that would be responsible for explaining the Title IX and criminal justice prosecution options to the victims.

McCaskill’s remarks alarmed the Clery Center, a nonprofit set up by Jeanne Clery’s parents that works to “create safer campuses,” which wrote an open letter to McCaskill saying the law was “more than just paperwork.”

In particular, the group said, Clery has resulted in scenarios such as:

A student receives a text message notifying him of an active shooter on the campus and he is able to move to a safe location until the danger has passed; …

A survivor decides it’s safe to go to the hospital for a forensic exam because a campus handout let her know that it’s still her decision as to whether she reports to law enforcement and she can take the time she needs to decide what to do next

McCaskill’s bill, which she told the Campus Safety crowd has bipartisan support and “not crazy stuff,” hasn’t seen action since it was referred to a Senate committee in February.

Despite her claim that it offers more due-process protections than Clery, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has said the latest version still affords more resources to accusers than to accused students and gives the government a financial incentive to punish schools for violations.

McCaskill’s office told the Huffington Post in response to the hubbub that the senator was “absolutely in favor of continuing to gather crime statistics that are actionable, and virtually everyone agrees that Clery statistics are not.”