New York Institutions: Time to Get a Head Start on the Decennial Article 129-A Filing Requirement for Campus Policies

January 5, 2014

By: Philip J. Zaccheo

010614-highered-postThe turn of the calendar to a new year provides an opportunity for New York colleges and universities to perform an early assessment of their compliance with Article 129-A of the New York State Education Law in anticipation of the need to furnish evidence of compliance to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) during the summer of 2014. By way of background, Article 129-A requires public and private colleges and universities in New York State to maintain institutional policies on a variety of subjects, including campus security and the maintenance of public order on campus; sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking prevention; campus crime reporting and statistics; investigation of violent felony offenses; bias related crime prevention; the marketing of credit cards on campus; and disclosure of fire safety standards in institutionally-owned or operated housing facilities. On or before July 1 of each year, institutions are required to certify to NYSED their compliance with the requirements of Article 129-A (i.e., that they have policies meeting the statutory requirements). However, in 2004 institutions were required, and every ten years thereafter are required, to submit actual copies of their policies as evidence of compliance.  Thus, New York institutions will be required to submit their policies to NYSED on or before July 1, 2014. In anticipation of this requirement, institutions may wish to perform a self-audit to confirm that the requisite policies are in place, and are suitable for filing.  Of course, institutions should be monitoring compliance in these areas on a continuous basis, but they may want to review the content of policies in greater detail (as opposed to confirming their mere existence) in anticipation of the public filing, so as not to be caught needing to make eleventh hour amendments to policies (or to adopt new policies) over the summer, when boards or others whose approval may be required are not readily available.