Ensuring a Transparent Campus for All
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.
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.
To fully understand the Clery Act and how to make sure your campus is compliant, it’s important to make sure campus officials are well aware of the crimes necessary to include in their 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:
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.
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:
Due to the Virginia Tech shooting 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.
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.
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.
Information provided by The Clery Center.
The SafeColleges Training System includes a Clery Act Overview course that provides college and university staff with an overview of the Clery Act. This course is designed to provide historical information about this federal legislation and educate college staff about the legal requirements mandated by the Clery Act. This course will cover the importance of the Clery Act, different categories of required reporting, the elements of the Annual Security Report, and timely warning 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 phone, text, email and website. A SafeColleges Alert Mobile App will be available soon for students, faculty, and staff