New bill would require colleges publicly report accidents that result in serious harm or death

(WASHINGTON) — A new House bill introduced Monday would require colleges to publicly report campus accidents that result in the serious injury or death of students. Some of the accidents that would have to be disclosed include transportation incidents (on foot, bikes, scooters, skateboards, longboards or cars), ground level and high height slips and falls, alcohol or drug overdoses and choking or drowning.

The bill, called the College Operational Reporting of Emergencies Involving Teens and Young Adults Safety Act of 2022, or COREY Safety Act, is named after Corey Hausman, a college freshman who died on Sept. 12, 2018, after falling off his skateboard on campus, just 15 days after the start of the semester.

The dean of students told his parents that Corey Hausman was the third student death of the semester. According to a survey of colleges by the American College Health Association, accidents account for nearly 11% of college student deaths, making it the leading cause of college student deaths.

The COREY Act seeks to expand incident statistics that colleges already report, per the CLEARY Act of 1990, to include accidents. This aims to expand current metrics used to measure, modify and improve college community safety.

It would also require colleges to report where their nearest Trauma 1 center is.

The COREY Act is sponsored by Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., Last year, a bipartisan bill requiring colleges in Connecticut to publicly report accidents passed in the state Senate and House of Representatives a single session, which Corey Hausman’s parents had advocated for.

Last month, parents of another college student who died after a hazing incident sued the university alleging it is responsible for their son’s death after turning a blind eye to hazing within a campus fraternity chapter where he was a pledge.

Corey Hausman was skateboarding along a pathway that connects all the buildings and dorms together and fell where several sidewalks came together, hitting his head, his mother Nanette Hausman told ABC News.

“It kind of completely threw us because he wasn’t a high risk kid, he was just traveling to his friend’s dorm on a Tuesday evening after dinner,” she said.

The family got a letter after the accident which the Hausmans say showed the college knew it was an accident and that the pathway was not safe and needed improvement. According to the Hausmans, along the pathway where Corey Hausman fell there was a gradual pickup in speed because of the layout and topography of the campus, but the pathway had some dips and imperfections which created a situation where he fell.

But, four years after his death, the pathway where Corey Hausman fell still has not been made safer, according to his parents.

“The site of Corey’s accident, documented by his university as both a ‘high risk’ and a ‘known problematic pathway,” remains structurally unchanged,” according to the Hausman parents in a press release.

Corey Hausman was taken to a local community health center, and died within seven hours of his arrival. His parents were notified by a physician after a care plan was implemented, and taking him to a nearby Level 1 trauma center was not considered, according to his parents.

“We didn’t know enough to ask and demand that because we were just so blindsided. But then I do, urge if you’re 2000 miles away from your child, and you get that phone call, you would want them to have the highest level of care possible,” Nannette Hausman said.

In the years since his death, his mother has been advocating for higher safety standards on campuses, hoping to prevent accidents like her son’s from happening again.

“I’ve heard of a lot of other similar types of accidents and incidents, not just happening at my son’s college, but also at various other colleges and campuses. And so the reason for the federal bill is so that incidents like my son’s would be counted as a safety event so that there can be more focused emphasis on improvement,” Nannette Hausman said.

Currently, college safety reporting only counts crimes and fire incidents, she discovered. Her push to include accidents in publicly reported incidents came as she discovered how common deadly accidents are at college campuses.

According to Nanette Hausman, the COREY Act will provide a foundation for injury prevention research and emergency care access to improve outcomes for college students around the country.

The COREY Act is endorsed by the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, Emory University’s Injury Prevention Research Center, Shepherd Center, Connecticut Children’s Hospital, MedTacGlobal, Safe Sound Schools and the College Safety Coalition, which represents a growing number of safety initiatives founded by parents whose children tragically died or sustained life-altering injuries while at college.

Through an initiative she founded called College911.net, Nanette Hausman has worked to better prepare students and parents for medical emergencies that could happen on campuses, creating checklists.

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