The Clery Act and University Reporting

Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty, Paterno’s statue removed, and Penn State has received widespread and long-lasting sanctions from the NCAA and Big Ten Conference. Hopefully, the victims have received a little bit of closure. But the consequences of the sexual abuse and cover-up carried out by Penn State will have lasting effects. Most notably in how universities apply the Clery Act to reports of misconduct by employees. What is the Clery Act?

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act 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 $27,500 per violation, against institutions for each infraction and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs.

The law is named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in her campus residence hall in 1986. The backlash against unreported crimes on numerous campuses across the country led to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Clery Act, signed in 1990, was originally known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act. via Wikipedia

According to Alison Kiss, the executive director of the Clery Center for Security on Campus, “ten schools have been fined a total of $1.4 million” for violations in the past five years. LA Times, 15 July 2012.