Madam Speaker, when they send their son or daughter off to college this fall, millions of parents will be counting on these educational institutions to take the reasonable steps to keep them safe. After reading an editorial, ``Campus security is a crime'', in USA Today, I'm afraid that trust may be misplaced.

Last December, Eastern Michigan University, EMU, student Laura Dickinson was raped and murdered in her own residence hall room. The campus police immediately opened a homicide investigation and called in the State police for help. Campus officials, however, issued a press release saying there was no reason to suspect foul play. In an especially unconscionable act, they even led the young woman's parents to believe she had died from a preexisting heart condition.

This cover-up was not exposed until more than 2 months later when police arrested another student, apparently unknown to the victim, and charged him in connection with the crimes. For more than 2 months, students were not told that a rapist and murderer was free amongst them lulling them into a false sense of security. When they found out they were outraged and I share their outrage. We owe America's college students and their families better.

As horrific as this is it isn't a new problem. After the chillingly similar rape and murder of Jeanne Clery at Lehigh University in 1986, Congress examined the scope of campus crime and found that cover-ups and violations of victims' rights were rampant. In response, the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 was adopted to require colleges to be up-front about their crime and respect victims' rights. In 1998 it was renamed the Jeanne Clery Act in memory of the student who had inspired it.

The problem, however, as USA Today points out, is that this law isn't being properly enforced. Even though there are more than 6,000 institutions of postsecondary education between 1994 and 2006 only 17 Clery Act specific reviews were conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, the agency charged with enforcing the Act. An even smaller number, three, were fined for violations.

This has led to widespread violations of the Act. Only about a third of all institutions properly comply with the Act according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in December of 2005. Simply put, their chances of getting caught are very small and the chances of being punished are virtually nonexistent. As a former judge, let me tell you, when there are no consequences for wrongdoing it won't stop.

In an investigation called for by Security On Campus, Inc., a national non-profit victims' rights group co-founded by Jeanne Clery's parents Connie and Howard, the Education Department found that EMU had not only violated the Clery Act by failing to warn their students about the murder, but also had an extensive history of violations. They should face significant fines for these violations and other schools need to know that they too will face a penalty if they lie about campus violence. Once the U.S. Department of Education finally begins taking the Clery Act seriously colleges and universities will too.

That's just the way it is.