The Jeanne Clery Act is the landmark federal law, originally known as the Campus Security Act, that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.
Its full name, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) is tied to an institution’s participation in federal student financial aid programs and it applies to most institutions of higher education both public and private. The Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.
The law was amended in 1992 to add a requirement that schools afford the victims of campus sexual assault certain basic rights, and was amended again in 1998 to expand the reporting requirements. The 1998 amendments also formally named the law in memory of Jeanne Clery. Subsequent amendments in 2000 and 2008 added provisions dealing with registered sex offender notification and campus emergency response. The 2008 amendments also added a provision to protect crime victims, “whistleblowers”, and others from retaliation.
Requirements for Colleges
Publish an Annual Security Report (ASR) by October 1, documenting three calendar years of select campus crime statistics including security policies and procedures and information on the basic rights guaranteed victims of sexual assault. The law requires schools make the report available to all current students and employees, and prospective students and employees must be notified of its existence and given a copy upon request. Schools may comply with this requirement via the internet if required recipients are notified and provided exact information regarding the on-line location of the report. Paper copies of the ASR should be available upon request. All crime statistics must be provided to the U.S. Department of Education.
Disclose crime statistics for incidents that occur on campus, in unobstructed public areas immediately adjacent to or running through the campus and at certain non-campus facilities including Greek housing and remote classrooms. The statistics must be gathered from campus police or security, local law enforcement and other school officials who have “significant responsibility for student and campus activities.” The Clery Act requires reporting of crimes in seven major categories, some with significant sub-categories and conditions:
- Criminal Homicide
- Murder & Nonnegligent manslaughter
- Negligent manslaughter
- Sex Offenses
- Aggravated Assault
- There is evidence of unlawful entry (trespass), which may be either forcible or not involve force.
- Unlawful entry must be of a structure - having four walls, a roof, and a door.
- There is evidence that the entry was made in order to commit a felony or theft.
- Burglary, where:
- Motor Vehicle Theft
Schools are also required to report statistics for the following categories of arrests or referrals for campus disciplinary action (if an arrest was not made):
- Liquor Law Violations
- Drug Law Violations
- Illegal Weapons Possession
Hate crimes must be reported by category of prejudice, including race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability. Statistics are also required for four additional crime categories if the crime committed is classified as a hate crime:
- Simple Assault
- Destruction/Damage/Vandalism of Property
Issue timely warnings about Clery Act crimes which pose a serious or ongoing threat to students and employees. Institutions must provide timely warnings in a manner likely to reach all members of the campus community. This mandate has been part of the Clery Act since its inception in 1990. Timely warnings are limited to those crimes an institution is required to report and include in its ASR. There are differences between what constitutes a timely warning and an emergency notification; however, both systems are in place to safeguard students and campus employees.
Devise an emergency response, notification and testing policy. Institutions are required to inform the campus community about a “significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus.” An emergency response expands the definition of timely warning as it includes both Clery Act crimes and other types of emergencies (i.e., a fire or infectious disease outbreak). Colleges and universities with and without on-campus residential facilities must have emergency response and evacuation procedures in place. Institutions are mandated to disclose a summary of these procedures in their ASR. Additionally, compliance requires one test of the emergency response procedures annually and policies for publicizing those procedures in conjunction with the annual test.
Provide a public crime log. Institutions with a police or security department are required to maintain a public crime log documenting the “nature, date, time, and general location of each crime” and its disposition, if known. Incidents must be entered into the log within two business days. The log should be accessible to the public during normal business hours; remain open for 60 days and, subsequently, made available within two business days upon request.
Compile and report fire data to the federal government and publish an annual fire safety report. Similar to the ASR and the current crime log, institutions with on-campus housing must report fires that occur in on-campus housing, generate both an annual fire report and maintain a fire log that is accessible to the public.
Enact policies and procedures to handle reports of missing students. This requirement is intended to minimize delays and confusion during the initial stages of a missing student investigation. Institutions must designate one or more positions or organizations to which reports of a student living in on-campus housing can be filed if it’s believed that student has been missing for 24 hours.