Campus Safety & Security Alerts and Timely Warning Notices

In an effort to provide timely notice to the Williams College community in the event of a criminal situation that may pose a serious or ongoing threat to members of the campus community, a Campus Safety & Security Alert (timely warning notice) that withholds the names of victims as confidential and that will aid in the prevention of similar crimes, is sent primarily by blast email to all students and employees on campus as soon as pertinent information is available. Alerts can also be sent/communicated via Williams College’s Emergency Notification System (Blackboard Connect) text/voice messaging system and a variety of other notification methods as outlined in the Immediate Emergency Notification section of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report (ASR). The intent of a Campus Safety & Security Alert is to warn the campus regarding a criminal incident that may pose a serious or ongoing threat, providing individuals an opportunity to take reasonable precautions to protect themselves.

The Director of Campus Safety and Security (CSS) or a designee, in consultation with some or all of the following: the Vice President for Campus Life, the Dean of the College, the Chief Communications Officer and the Office of the President will determine if a timely warning notice is warranted and written. The alert/notification is typically distributed by CSS and the following offices have authority to issue the alert/notification if necessary: VP for Campus Life, Dean of the College, Communications, Information Technology and the President’s Office. These warnings will typically be distributed if the incident is reported to Campus Safety and Security, a Campus Safety Authority (CSA) or to the local Police Department.

Campus Safety & Security Alerts are sent to the college community to notify members of the community about specific Clery Act crimes (as described below) that have been reported to the Campus Safety and Security (CSS) and that have occurred on campus or on non-campus property or public property, where it is determined that the incident may pose a serious or continuing threat to members of the College community.

Crimes that occur outside the campus’ Clery geography, as stipulated or other non-Clery specific crimes, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Information related to these crimes may be distributed to the campus as a Campus Safety & Security Alert, as outlined and described in the ASR’s policy statement for “Campus Safety & Security Alerts and Timely Warning Notices to the Campus Community.” Updates to the campus community, when deemed necessary, about any particular case resulting in a Campus Safety & Security Alert may be:  distributed via blast email, posted on the college website, shared with the Williams newspaper (Record) for a follow-up story, and/or distributed by the Director of CSS or designee,  in consultation with some or all of the following: the Vice President for Campus Life, the Dean of the College, the Chief Communications Officer and the Office of the President, as deemed necessary and appropriate.

Campus Safety & Security Alert posters may also be posted by CSS in campus buildings when deemed necessary. When Campus Safety & Security Alert posters are posted in campus buildings, they are printed on 8.5 x 14 yellow paper and posted in lobby/entrance areas of key buildings for a time period determined by the Director of CSS or designee. Williams College staff are responsible to share Campus Safety & Security Alert information with their sponsored visitors and/or guests. Conference Services staff are instructed to inform conference attendees, camp counselors, and/or directors/leaders about Campus Safety & Security Alerts and Alert posters that may be posted in areas or residence halls where conference or camp attendees are visiting and/or occupying.

Campus Safety & Security Alerts may be distributed for any of the following Clery Act crime categories/classifications: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, sex offenses (rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, hate crimes, motor vehicle theft, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or arrests and referrals for liquor law, weapons law, and drug law violations.

Alerts for the crimes of aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, burglary, sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and arrests or referrals for liquor, drug, and weapons offenses are considered on a case-by-case basis and depend upon a number of factors. These include the nature of the crime, the timeliness of the report, and the continuing or ongoing danger to the campus community—such as whether the perpetrator was apprehended, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts. For example, if a physical assault occurs between two students who have a disagreement, there may be no continuing threat to other Williams College community members and a Campus Safety & Security Alert would not be distributed.

Typically, alerts are not issued for any incidents reported that are older than five (5) days from the date of occurrence, as such a delay in reporting has not afforded the College an opportunity to react or respond in a timely manner.

Campus officials not subject to the timely reporting requirement are those with significant counseling responsibilities who were providing confidential assistance to a crime victim.  At Williams College, this would only apply to professional counselors from the Integrative Wellbeing Services and pastoral counselors who are performing that specific function and role as their primary employment with the College.