The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act, signed in 1990, is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. 668.46.
The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, which can impose civil penalties, up to $54,789 per violation, against institutions for each infraction and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs.
The law is named after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University student whom Josoph Henry raped and murdered in her campus hall of residence in 1986. Henry’s murder of Ms. Clery triggered a backlash against unreported crime on campuses across the country.
Josoph M. Henry, another student, raped and murdered Jeanne Clery in April 1986 in Stoughton Hall at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Henry was given a death sentence via the electric chair by a trial court, a decision which was upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court when appealed. The attack on Clery was one of 38 violent crimes recorded at the university in three years. Her parents argued that, had the university’s crime record been known, Clery would not have attended. They sued, were awarded $2 million, and founded Security on Campus, a non-profit group.
Requirements of the Clery Act
Annual security report
By October 1 of each year, institutions must publish and distribute their Annual Campus Security Report to current and prospective students and employees. Institutions are also allowed to provide notice of the report, a URL if available, and how to obtain a paper copy if desired. This report is required to provide crime statistics for the prior three years, policy statements regarding various safety and security measures, campus crime prevention program descriptions, and procedures to be followed in the investigation and prosecution of alleged sex offenses.
The institution’s police department or security departments are required to maintain a public log of all crimes reported to them, or those of which they are made aware. The log is required to have the most recent 60 days’ worth of information. Each entry in the log must contain the nature, date, time and general location of each crime and disposition of the complaint, if known. Information in the log older than 60 days must be made available within two business days. Crime logs must be kept for seven years, three years following the publication of the last annual security report.
The Clery Act requires institutions to give timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees. Institutions are required to publish their policies regarding timely warnings in their Annual Campus Security Report. The institution is only required to notify the community of crimes which are covered by the Clery statistics.
An institution must keep the most recent eight years (as of 2012) of crime statistics that occurred: on campus, in institution residential facilities, in noncampus buildings, or on public property. Offenses are defined by the UCR Handbook and are not the state crime definitions but rather Federal crime definitions. This has led to possible discrepancies in data reporting. Some changes have been made to further define discrepancies in recent updates to the Clery Act. In 2014, new amendments were made to require reporting on domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. In cases of forcible sexual offenses, there have been reports of colleges questioning accounts of alleged victims, further complicating documentation and policing of student assaults.
Institutions are required to report on crimes such as:
Murder (including non-negligent and negligent manslaughter)
Sex offenses (forcible/non-forcible, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking)
Motor vehicle theft
Institutions are required to report on persons referred for campus disciplinary action for:
Liquor law violations
Institutions are required to report on crimes or bodily harm related to/caused by:
Originally, the Student Right-To-Know and Campus Security Act