On-campus crime reporting bill advances

TRENTON – The Senate Higher Education Committee released two bills Monday dealing with crime reporting and meeting needs of employers.

S2244/A3462:  This bill, passed 4-0, would require the president of a public university or college to report to the governing board of the institution, at each of its monthly meetings, all crimes, fires, and other emergencies which occurred on campus during the previous reporting period. 

The report must include a count and classification of all on-campus crimes, a list of campus alerts, threats, or emergencies, and other pertinent information.

The bill is supported in general by the Association of State Colleges and Universities and the N.J. Council of County Colleges, but representatives raised concerns, which committee chair and co-sponsor Sandra  Cunningham, D-31, Jersey City said she would be glad to work on, regarding how public some of this information might be and whether the bill was duplicative of some reporting requirements already in place.

“There is a concern about legislating the relationship between a college president and their board of trustees,’’ said Lynn Nowak on behalf of the County Colleges association.

And Michael Klein of the State Colleges group said that he recognizes the concern over and need  for such reporting in a post-Jerry Sandusky/Penn State environment, but he wants to review the bill and amendments further to see what impact they will have.

“We are all for the intent of this bill,’’ he said. “Nobody wants what happened at Penn State.’’

There already is a level of 60-day and annual reporting in effect, he explained.

S2483:  This bill establishes, in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, a New Jersey Workforce Development and Education Commission. 

The commission will consist of three members: the Secretary of Higher Education, the Commissioner of the Department of Labor, and a representative of the New Jersey Business Action Center appointed by the Governor.  

The commission will oversee the activities of two advisory boards:  the Education Advisory Board and the Business and Workforce Advisory Board. 

The commission will develop a report identifying policies that will improve the ability of the state’s schools and public institutions of higher education to meet the demands of tomorrow’s employers.

The commission will submit its report to the Governor, the Senate Higher Education Committee, and the Assembly Higher Education Committee. 

Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., R-21, Westfield, recommended an amendment to include the Commissioner of Education on the commission as well. The amended bill passed 4-0.

On-campus crime reporting bill advances