ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) - After a spring and summer of issues at Elizabeth City State University -- including the resignation of the school’s police chief -- campus officials are looking toward a new school year with a new attitude.
The school hosted its annual fall conference for faculty and staff Tuesday where Interim Chancellor Charles Becton gave the State of the University Address.
But the conference was not limited to academic and scholastic challenges that come with a new school year. It also reflected the ongoing dialogue about making sure any criminal activity that might occur on campus is properly reported, as required by federal guidelines set forth in the Clery Act.
"A campus security authority's responsibility is to report those allegations made in good faith to the reporting structure established by the institution. That's exactly what the regulations say,” said Consultant Steven Healy.
But just last spring the school came under fire for allegations that police were not investigating students' complaints of sexual assaults on campus.
"I think we would have had this conference no matter what happened in the spring,” said ECSU Interim Chancellor Charles Becton.
Becton says Tuesday's presentation on the Clery Act was not directly tied to the crimes currently under investigation on campus.
"This is a timely subject, not only for ECSU but around the country,” Becton said. “You don't have to Google hard to find incidents at Dartmouth and Yale, USC, University of Montanna -- all around the country."
Becton would not comment about the ongoing investigations related to the recent reports of criminal activity at ECSU or the specifics about what the school is doing in response. Instead, he insisted students are safe on ECSU’s campus.
"I am firmly convinced that this is the safest school in the UNC system right now because of all the things we have done in the last several months, Cleary wise,” he said.
ECSU could lose federal funding if the ongoing investigation of criminal activity on the campus reveals crimes were not properly reported.
Chancellor Becton told WAVY.com he attended a conference on the Clery Act last week and the school will be conducting similar training for faculty at ECSU beginning next week. The school is also providing the public with weekly updates of campus crime statistics.
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