Timely Warning Notifications
The purpose of this policy is to outline procedures that Swarthmore College will use to issue Timely Warnings in compliance with the Clery Act. The College will issue a Timely Warning Notice in the event that it receives notice of an alleged Clery Crime (defined below) occurring on campus, on public property within or immediately adjacent to the campus, or in or on non-campus buildings or property controlled by the College, where the College determines, in its judgment, that the allegations present a serious or continuing threat to the College community.
For purposes of this policy, “timely” means as soon as reasonably practical after an incident has been reported to the Department of Public Safety or the Campus Security Authorities identified by Swarthmore College, or local police agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction have reported the information to the College.
The Director of the Department of Public Safety, or, in his absence or unavailability, his designee, is responsible for determining whether to issue a Timely Warning Notice. If the Director or designee is not available, a member of the College’s emergency response contingent called the 24/7 Team will make the determination. Whether to issue a Timely Warning Notice is determined on a case-by-case basis for Clery Act crimes: homicide, sex offenses (rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and hate crimes, as defined by the Clery Act. The Director of Public Safety and the 24/7 Team, or their designees may also issue a Timely Warning Notice for other crimes, as determined necessary.
In determining whether to issue a Timely Warning Notice the College will consider any factors reflecting on whether the alleged crime represents a serious or continuing threat to the College community, including, but not limited to, (a) the nature of the incident; (b) when and where the incident took place. A hate crime is defined as: “A crime reported to local police agencies or to a campus security authority that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim. The categories of bias include the victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, and disability incident occurred; (c) when it was reported; (d) the continuing danger to the campus community; and (e) the amount of information known by the Department of Public Safety.
If there is insufficient information available to determine whether the incident represents a serious or continuing threat to the College community, the College will issue a Timely Warning Notice unless, based on the information available, it appears unlikely that there is an ongoing threat to the community, and it will be noted in the content of the Timely Warning Determination form that, based on the information available, the College does not have full information to evaluate the nature of the ongoing threat. The Director of Public Safety will make efforts to consult with the Vice President of Communications or a designee, if s/he is not available, to develop the content of the Timely Warning Notice. Time permitting, additional input may be garnered from additional members of the 24/7 Team, including the V.P. of Finance and Administration, V.P. of Human Resources, V.P. for Student Affairs, A.V.P. of Facilities and Services. The College’s Title IX Coordinator or others may also be consulted in appropriate situations. The reason why the College does or does not issue a Timely Warning Notice for any Clery Crime reported to the College will be documented on the Timely Warning Determination form and maintained by the Department of Public Safety for a minimum of seven years. A copy of the documentation will be attached to the written and electronic copies of the incident report. The Timely Warning Notice will include, to the extent known, the date, time and nature of the offense, a brief overview of its particular circumstances, a physical description of the actor(s), law enforcement’s immediate actions, a request and method for witnesses to contact law enforcement, and where applicable and appropriate, cautionary advice that would promote safety.
In developing the content of the Timely Warning Notice, the College will take all reasonable efforts not to compromise ongoing law enforcement efforts. The College distributes Timely Warning Notices in various ways. Once the College determines that a notice will be issued, the Department of Public Safety may use the SwatSafe program, which includes emails and text messages for all student phone numbers registered and for those staff and faculty who have opted to receive text messages, or emails via the College email listservs. The department may also post it on its website, as well as post notices on bulletin boards or doors throughout campus.
Anyone with information about a serious crime or incident should report the circumstances to the Department of Public Safety by phone at (610-328-8333) or in person at the Benjamin West House. If a report is made to other college administrators, those administrators will immediately notify the Department of Public Safety