Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Jeanne Clery Act?
The "Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act" (formerly the Campus Security Act) is a federal law that requires institutions of higher education (colleges and universities) in the United States to disclose campus security information including crime statistics for the campus and surrounding areas. It was first enacted by Congress in 1990 and amended in 1992, 1998 and 2000.
Who is Jeanne Clery?
In 1986 Jeanne Clery, a freshman at Pennsylvania's Lehigh University, was murdered and sexually assaulted in her campus residence hall room by another student she didn't know. Her school hadn't informed students about 38 violent crimes on campus in the three years preceding her murder. Clery's parents, Connie & Howard, led the crusade to enact the original Campus Security Act. In 1998, Congress formally named the law in memory of Jeanne Clery.
Which schools must comply with the Clery Act?
All institutions of postsecondary education, both public and private, that participate in federal student aid programs must publish and disseminate an annual campus security report as well as make timely warnings of any criminal activities.
What does a school have to disclose under the Clery Act?
Schools must publish and disseminate an annual campus security report containing various security policies and three years worth of crime statistics. They must also issue timely warnings about crimes that pose an ongoing danger. Schools with a police or security department of any kind must also maintain a public crime log of all crimes reported to that department.
Who is entitled to receive information under the Clery Act?
Currently enrolled students and employees are to receive a school's annual campus security report automatically. Prospective students and employees are to be provided with information about the report and entitled to request a copy. The general public, including parents and the news media, have access to the public crime log as well.
Does a school have to submit their annual crime statistics to the Department of Education (DOE)?
Yes, they do. Schools have to report their crime statistics to the DOE through a specially designed web site.
Do school officials other than law enforcement have reporting obligations under the Clery Act?
Yes, they do. All institutional officials with significant responsibility for campus and student activities have reporting obligations under the Clery Act. A school should have a policy for surveying these officials each year to determine if any of the covered crimes were reported to them. Only professional mental health and pastoral counselors are exempt from reporting.Are schools required to include crimes reported to local police agencies?
Schools are required to "make a reasonable, good-faith effort to obtain statistics from outside" law enforcement agencies for inclusion in their annual report for all geographic areas including the main campus.
Does someone have to be convicted of a crime before it is reportable under the Clery Act?
Who enforces the Jeanne Clery Act and what are the penalties for noncompliance?
The United States Department of Education is charged with enforcing the Jeanne Clery Act and may level civil penalties against institutions of higher education up to $27,500 per violation or may suspend them from participating in federal student financial aid programs. Complaints of violations should be filed with DOE regional offices.
Do schools have to add arson and manslaughter, as well as a geographic breakdown to their annual crime statistics?
Yes, they do.
What is the difference between FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program and the Clery Act?
There are several key differences between how crime statistics are reported under the UCR program and the Clery Act. The UCR program is a voluntary program where law enforcement agencies submit monthly reports, while reporting under the Clery Act is mandatory and not limited to crimes reported to law enforcement. Additionally, some reporting categories are different, specifically simple theft is not included and the definition of sexual assault is broader under the Clery Act.
Does the Clery Act follow the guidelines established in the UCR program?
Where guidance from the UCR program does not conflict with Clery Act reporting requirements schools are expected to follow the classifying and scoring methods outlined in the FBI UCR Handbook.
If more than one crime occurs in the same incident, which offense is reported?
Under a UCR standard known as the "hierarchy rule" only the most serious (using the order found in the UCR Handbook) incident is to be reported in annual crime statistics. The crime log and timely warnings may reflect more than one crime.
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