The federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), 20 USC § 1092(f), requires colleges and universities, both public and private, participating in federal student aid programs to disclose campus safety information, and meet certain basic requirements for handling incidents of missing students, sexual violence and emergency situations. Disclosures about crime statistics and summaries of security policies are made once a year in an Annual Security Report (ASR), and information about specific crimes and emergencies is made publicly available on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
The Clery Act is named in memory of Jeanne Clery who was raped and murdered in her residence hall room by a fellow student she did not know on April 5, 1986. Her parents, Connie and Howard, championed laws requiring the disclosure of campus crime information, and the federal law that now bears their daughter’s name was first enacted in 1990, originally known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990. It has been amended regularly over the last two decades to keep up with changes in campus safety with the most recent update in 2013 to expand the law’s requirements concerning the handling of sexual violence (see the summary of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act for additional information about these requirements which took effect in 2014).
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is responsible for enforcing the Clery Act. ED’s Clery Act Compliance Division is responsible for conducting investigations and issuing findings of violation. Institutions that violate the Clery Act may face warnings, up to $55,907 per violation fines, the limitation or suspension of federal aid, or the loss of eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs. Complaints may be filed with CleryComplaints@ed.gov.
Institutions must annually, no later than October 1st, automatically disseminate an Annual Security Report (ASR) to all current students and employees, as well as make it available to all prospective students and employees upon request. Most institutions comply with this requirement by providing a notice, either by postal or e-mail, of where the ASR may be accessed on the institution’s website. The ASR must include three years worth of crime statistics and summaries of certain security policies and procedures.