The Clery Act

The Clery Act

The Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Polices and Campus Crime Statistics Act, previously known as the Campus Security Act, is a landmark federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. 

Written into law to provide transparency around crime on campus, all higher education institutions that receive federal funding are obligated to comply with the Clery Act.

Clery Act Help Kiosk

The Clery Act of 1990 amended the Higher Education Act of 1965. It was developed after a student named Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in a resident hall at Lehigh University in 1986. It has been modified and amended several times since. 

In 2008, following the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, it was amended to include new provisions related to emergency response, emergency notification, timely warnings, missing student notifications, fire safety reporting, and hate crime reporting. 

Clery Act Requirements

The Clery Act is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education and any institution found to be in non-compliance with the Clery Act is required to pay up to millions of dollars in fines

The Clery Act requires that higher education institutions do the following to comply:

  • Disclose campus crime statistics and publish the annual security report.
  • Announce timely warnings about Clery act crimes.
  • Implement an emergency response, notification, and testing policy.
  • Identify a group of people that are required to report all crimes reported to them – Campus Security Authorities.
 
It’s important to note that anyone that believes a higher education institution is failing to comply with the Clery Act, or any one of it’s requirements, can file a Clery complaint. 

 

Crime Statistics & Building the Annual Security Report (ASR)

The Department of Education requires that institutions publish policies and crime statistics each year on October 1st for incidents which occur on-campus, on-campus housing, adjacent unobstructed public areas to campus, and on-campus properties owned or controlled by the institution. 

Institutions are required to report on the following categories of crime: 
 
  • Criminal Offenses 
  • Hate Crimes 
  • VAWA Offenses
  • Arrests and Referrals for Disciplinary Action
 
If you would like to see a sample ASR or review a more detailed explanation of building an ASR, please utilize the Clery Center’s Sample Annual Security Report. 

Timely Warnings

Every time a college or university is notified that a Clery crime has taken place on campus, an official must review it to decide whether or not it is a “serious or ongoing” threat. If it’s decided that it is “serious or ongoing,” the official must announce the threat to campus in a timely manner. 

A few points to consider when it comes to timely warnings:

  • Although the warning should be announced as soon as possible so that campus members can get to safety, the Clery Act doesn’t define what is timely. 
  • The Clery Act doesn’t determine what information should be given to campus members during these announcements or warnings, yet it should convey any pertinent safety information.
  • The Clery Act authorizes campus officials to decide whether or not to issue timely warnings, it’s always in the best interest of the campus to consider the nature of the crime reported, the ongoing danger on campus, and campus security efforts taking place by campus or state police. 

Emergency Response, Notification, and Testing Policy

Due to the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, the Clery Act was amended to make sure institutions develop and implement an emergency response, notification, and testing policy. Timely warnings and emergency notifications are similar, but differ in why and how they should be sent. 

Emergency notifications should be utilized and sent immediately when any significant emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. 

The Clery Act requires that emergency notifications are used if the situation is taking place on-campus and that the audience of the notification can be tailored. 

Clery Act emergency reporting

Emergency notifications should be tested regularly as it will confirm the system is working and familiarize students, faculty, and staff with the notifications as well as what to do. All policies and procedures should be documented in your Annual Security Report. 

Campus Security Authorities

The Clery Act requires institutions to gather and publish crime data from multiple sources, including Campus Security Authorities (CSAs), to ensure that current and prospective students, as well as employees, know about the dangers on campus. 

A CSA, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, is any university official who has significant responsibility for students and campus activities. There are four types of CSAs: campus police departments, campus security individuals, campus designated individuals, and any officials with a significant responsibility for students or campus activities. 

If you are a licensed mental health counselor, designated victim advocate, a pastoral counselor, or working within the scope of your license or religious assignment you don’t have to report.

When in doubt – always report! Contact your campus security and fill out a CSA incident form. To learn more about CSAs, please click here

To learn more about sexual violence legislation, please click the appropriate topic below:

How SafeColleges Can Help

The SafeColleges Suite includes solutions for training, accident tracking and SDS management.

The SafeColleges Training System includes a Clery Act Overview course that describes the importance of the Clery Act, identifies different categories of required reporting, discusses the elements of the Annual Security Report, and defines timely warnings and emergency notifications. 

The SafeColleges Online Tip Reporting System can be used to prevent and investigate sexual assault, hazing, discrimination, threats of violence and more on your campus. Alert lets students, faculty and staff anonymously report tips to your administration 24/7 from any web-enabled device. Users can submit tips through the Alert mobile app, phone, text, email and website.

For more information on the SafeColleges Training System or the SafeColleges Online Tip Reporting System, please contact us at 1.800.434.0154 or info@safecolleges.com. Free trials are available.

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