NIC Position: NIC opposes host institutions naming alumni advisors and volunteers, fraternity employees, or student leaders for collegiate fraternity chapters as Campus Security Authorities (“CSAs”).
- The NIC supports reporting of any activity that caused serious bodily injury to local authorities. The term serious bodily injury involves any of the following: unconsciousness as a result of hazing of any kind, extreme physical pain, protracted or obvious disfigurement of a bodily member, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty, death, or a substantial risk of death.
- NIC supports efforts to provide continuing education to volunteer advisors on what they can do to address potential criminal acts. However, care should be taken to avoid creating significant barriers to a person agreeing to serve or continuing to serve in the voluntary chapter advisor position.
- There is nothing in the Clery Act that necessitates these volunteers being designated as CSAs, unless the person is also an employee of the host institution which otherwise results in their designation as a CSA.
- The Clery Handbook (2016, page 4-2) states that a CSA is a term encompassing four groups of individuals as indicated below. The role of a volunteer chapter advisor does not meet or exceed these criteria:
- Campus Police or Campus Security Department
- Any individual who has responsibility for campus security – such as an individual who is responsible for monitoring access to campus, acts as event security, or escorts students around campus
- Any individual specified as an individual or organization to report criminal offenses
- An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities. An official is defined as any person who has the authority and duty to take action or respond to particular issues on behalf of the campus.
- These volunteer advisors take time from their families and from their work to provide guidance to chapters. There is not an abundance of capable persons willing to volunteer for these positions. Deeming these volunteers CSAs under the Act carries with it the potential for personal liability where no such liability exists without the designation. This would be a significant impediment to recruiting and retaining volunteer advisors.
- A designation by the academic institution of volunteer advisors as CSAs requires educational programming by the institution. These have included required attendance by the volunteer at on campus programming events. These additional requirements or expectations and requisite time commitments would be additional impediments to recruiting and retaining these volunteer advisors.
- Educational programming by the academic institution for volunteer advisors who are designated CSAs creates potential liability for the academic institution based on claims that what was done was not enough, was not often enough, or that it failed in some other regard. Furthermore, by designating a volunteer alumni advisor as a CSA, the institution assumes certain liability for an advisor’s actions or lack thereof, but the institution does not have the ability to remove or discipline that advisor.
- The potential liability arising from such a designation includes potential claims by an alleged victim and by an alleged assailant. As an example, see King v. DePaul University, No. 2:14-CV- 70-WTL-DKL, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117075 (S.D. Ind. Dec. 30, 2014) where plaintiff (alleged assailant) sought leave to pursue litigation claim against the student who initiated the university disciplinary process against him, asserting false statements with damage to reputation, and that alleged false statements constituted an interference with a business relationship.
- Any liability claims against volunteer advisors due to their designation as a CSA also provides potential liability to the advisor, the associated chapter, and the chapter’s national organization under an agency theory.
- Instances have occurred where advisors have resigned rather than accept a designation by the academic institution as a CSA under the Act.