Campus Security Authorities (CSA)

The overall intent of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) is to encourage the reporting and collection of accurate campus crime data and to promote crime awareness and enhance campus safety. As part of the Clery Act, certain categories of crime, arrests and referrals occurring at Act reportable locations (see below) are required to be reported in an Annual Security Report (published by October 1st each year).

Another key requirement of the Clery Act is the issuance of crime alerts to the campus community on crimes considered to be a serious or continuing threat to University community members that are reported to Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) or local law enforcement agencies and that are reported to University Police.

What Is a Campus Security Authority (CSA)?

The Clery Act identifies certain categories of students, University employees and contractors as CSAs who have federally mandated responsibilities to report crimes that they witness or are reported to them.

The intent of including non‐law enforcement personnel in the role of CSA is to acknowledge that some community members and students in particular may be hesitant about reporting crime to the police, but may be more inclined to report incidents to other campus‐affiliated individuals.

To review information on reportable Clery Act crimes, reportable disciplinary referrals and/or the Clery Act incident occurrence locations that are reportable, please reference Clery Act Crime Definitions and Reportable Locations (PDF). CSAs have an important role in complying with the Clery Act, which was enacted to help create a safer University community. Timely reporting of crimes by CSAs allows the University the opportunity to review whether or not a community crime alert should be issued and assists in maintaining accurate crime data. 

CSA Crime Reporting Obligation

A Clery Act crime is considered “reported” when it is brought to the attention of a CSA, University Police or local law enforcement personnel by a victim, witness, other third party or even the offender. The crime reporting party need not be University affiliated. 

While CSAs are only obligated to report Clery Act qualifying crimes that are reported to them which occurred on Clery reportable locations, CSAs are encouraged to report all crimes reported to them to University Police. Student Affairs affiliated student employees are directed to report all non-emergency criminal incidents to their direct supervisor.

If a CSA receives Clery Act qualifying crime information and believes it was provided in good faith, meaning that there is reasonable basis for believing that the information is not rumor or hearsay, then the crime is Clery Act reportable. What you must report, therefore, are reports of alleged criminal incidents.

How a CSA Responds When a Crime Is Reported

  1. Regardless of your status (CSA or non-CSA), all community members are encouraged to promptly report all Chicago and Evanston campus related criminal incidents, and other public safety related emergencies, to University Police. When a crime is reported, the CSA should always first handle emergencies and call 911 or use one of the “Blue Light” Police Emergency Phones (call boxes) located throughout both campuses.
  2. If it is not an emergency, the CSA should ask the individual reporting the crime if they would like to report the incident to University Police. If they do, then the CSA should coordinate reporting and contact University Police via phone at 847‐491‐3456 or in person at the Evanston or Chicago campus University Police station (1201 Davis Street in Evanston or 211 E. Superior Street in Chicago).
  3. CSAs are encouraged to use the following statement when speaking with the crime reporting party:

    "As part of my position on campus, I am a federally mandated crime reporter for the University. I am required to report this incident to University Police for data gathering. If you request confidentiality, the Report Form will not include your name, or that of any other involved individuals.  My report will contain only the information you provide. Do you have any questions?  Would you like to help me fill it out?"
  4. If the reporting party is a student victim of a sex offense and University Police are not involved, the student shall also be encouraged to contact the Center for Awareness Response and Education (CARE, 847‐491‐2054). Students can receive confidential advocacy services and referrals through CARE. University employees can receive counseling support through Northwestern’s contracted employee assistance program. CSAs reporting a student or employee reported incidence of sexual violence or harassment are encouraged to print and provide the reporting party with the Resource guide on Sexual Misconduct and Title IX.
  5. As noted above in the CSA statement, the CSA should explain that they are a federally mandated crime reporter and are required to submit a crime report for statistical purposes and that the crime report can be submitted without identifying the crime reporting party and/or victim if the reporting party would like to remain anonymous.
  6. If the CSA has firsthand knowledge/confirmation that the reporting party already filed a police report with University Police, then the CSA is not obligated to complete and submit a CSA Crime Report Form. However, if the reporting party says they will file a police report with University Police, but the CSA has no firsthand knowledge / confirmation that a police report was filed, then the CSA must complete and submit a Crime Report Form. When in doubt, a Report Form should be completed and submitted.
  7. CSAs should not investigate a crime reported to them or attempt to determine whether in fact a crime took place. CSAs should simply report the crime on a timely basis to University Police.
  8. It is very important that CSAs report crime on a timely basis to University Police, as a reported crime may warrant a University issued crime alert to the University community.
  9. For additional information on CSA Clery Act crime reporting obligations, visit the Faculty-Staff CSA Responsibilities and Student CSA Responsibilities documents.

What Is Done with CSA Report Forms?

University Police reviews Report Forms and makes a determination if an incident warrants issuance of a crime alert / emergency notification to the University community and whether it is a qualifying (reportable) Clery Act crime to be included in the University Annual Security Report (ASR). The University Clery Coordinator consolidates crime data from multiple sources, reports qualifying crime data to the federal Department of Education, publishes campus ASRs and informs the campus community when and where ASRs are available. Northwestern University published ASRs for the Chicago / Evanston, Miami, Qatar and Washington, D.C. campuses are posted on the Annual Crime and Safety Report web page. Hard copies are available from University Police upon request. 

How Are CSAs Identified?

The law defines the following four categories of CSAs:

  1. University Police (UP) Department sworn law enforcement personnel and department administrators.
  2. Non-police people or offices responsible for campus security—community service officers, campus contract security personnel, parking enforcement staff, personnel providing access control and/or security at campus facilities, athletic events or other special events, safety escort staff, residential community assistants and other similar positions.
  3. Officials with significant responsibility for student and campus activities—an Official is defined as any person who has the authority and the duty to take action or respond to particular issues on behalf of the University. To determine which individuals of organizations are CSAs, consider job functions that involve relationships with students. Look for Officials (i.e., not support staff) whose functions involve relationships with students. If someone has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, then they would be considered a CSA. Some examples of CSAs in this category include, but are not limited to: academic deans; student affairs / residential life officials; coordinator of Greek affairs (or related positions); athletic administrators, including directors, assistant directors and coaches; student activities coordinators and staff; student judicial officials; faculty and staff advisors to student organizations; student center building staff; student peer education advisors; and administrators at branch campuses.
  4. Any individual or organization specified in an institution's statement of campus security policy as an individual or organization to which students and employees should report criminal offenses (University Police / Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators).

Who Is Not a CSA?

The following non-CSA positions and functions include, but are not limited to:

  • faculty member without responsibility for student and campus activity beyond the classroom
  • physicians/nurses in Student Health who only provide care for students
  • clerical or administrative support staff
  • cafeteria staff
  • facilities maintenance staff
  • information technology staff
  • licensed mental health or pastoral counselors when acting within the scope of their license or certificate
  • roles with like functions listed above

Additional Information and Assistance

Questions about the Clery Act, the role and responsibilities of a CSA and/or CSA online training should be directed to the University Clery Coordinator.