The Clery Act (Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act) requires "institutions to give timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students and employees." Crimes required to be reported by the Clery Act include (as defined by the Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook): criminal homicide, including murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, and negligent manslaughter; sexual offenses, forcible and non-forcible; robbery; aggravated assault; burglary; arson; motor vehicle theft; domestic violence; dating violence; stalking; hate crimes; and arrests and/or disciplinary referrals for liquor-law violations, drug-law violations, and illegal weapons possession.
Such notifications are provided by a broadcast e-mail message through the institution's e-mail service in order to alert students, faculty, and staff in a timely manner to situations or crimes that may represent a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community, to heighten safety awareness, and, depending on the circumstances, to solicit information that may lead to an arrest and conviction. While every attempt is made to issue reasonably prompt notice, releases are subject to the availability of accurate facts concerning the incident.
Like most institutions, Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary consider it important to send notices when necessary but not frivolously, given that the key to the effectiveness of a timely notice is that the notice itself is something out of the ordinary. Situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis in order to determine whether there exists a serious or ongoing threat to the institutional community. Instances of a violent crime occurring between two individuals who know each other also are evaluated in this manner.
Timely notifications typically include the following information:
- A succinct statement of the incident.
- Any connection to previous incidents.
- Physical description and/or composite drawing of the suspect, if appropriate.
- Date and time the bulletin was released.
- Other relevant and important information.
- Appropriate safety tips.
When an incident occurs on campus which may merit a timely warning, the highest ranking police officer on campus at that time is empowered to decide whether or not one is merited and, if so, what the appropriate level of warning is given the situation, consulting with the Chief of Police as necessary and possible. The officer or the dispatcher will issue the notification him- or herself if no additional consultation is deemed necessary due to low threat level or limited potential for harm (e.g., a situation of a rash of car break-ins).
In situations of greater concern or potential impact, when time permits, Campus Police consults with the Student Life and with the President's Office in order to decide whether such notice is advisable, taking into account the nature of the threat, the extent of the risk, the population at risk, and whether there is another, more possibly even more effective, way to minimize the risk of reoccurrence of the incident (e.g., a situation of alleged sexual assault).
When a situation appears to pose an imminent, significant threat of personal injuries or property damage (e.g., a situation involving a bomb threat), the emergency notification system will be deployed by Moravian College Police Department.