The Clery Act
The Clery Act, passed in 1990, supports Title IX by promoting transparency and community awareness of crimes, including sexual violence that occur in and around college campuses.Defining the Clery Act
The Clery Act, named after Jeanne Clery a Lehigh University student who was raped and killed in her residence hall in 1986. It is a federal law that requires universities to publish crime statistics and publicly provide information on campus safety policies and prevention programs.
Monitored by the U.S. Department of Education, schools must be in compliance with the Clery Act in order to participate in federal student financial aid programs.
In 2013, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) extended a school’s crime reporting obligations to include sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and domestic violence.
The act requires schools to publish an Annual Security Report, maintain a public crime log, notify the campus community of crimes that occur on campus in a timely fashion, and keep the most recent eight years of crime statistics readily available.Clery Geography
“Clery Geography” refers to the specific locations in and around a college campus that are covered by the Clery Act. These locations vary depending on the specific university but generally locations that qualify for reporting include:
- The campus itself
- School owned buildings, even if they are not “on campus”
- Greek houses
- Public property near the campus
- Remote classrooms
- Residence halls, even if they are outside of school property
- Areas where college club meetings, extracurricular activities, or athletic events take place
- School parking facilities
The Clery Act requires colleges to release an Annual Security Report every October, containing the most recent three years of crime statistics. Available on a school’s website, this detailed report must list the date of each crime and the general location of the incident for each of these categories of crimes:
- Hate crimes
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Dating violence
- Motor vehicle theft
The statistics provided in a school’s Annual Security Report reflect reports of crimes, not necessarily crimes that resulted in criminal charges or convictions.Disclosure of Campus Safety Policies
The Annual Security Report does not just consist of a list of crime statistics, but it must also include details about how to report a crime to the university, as well as the school’s specific campus safety policies and procedures.
Columbia University’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report includes specific ways to report crimes, outlines its timely warning, daily crime log, and public safety training policies, describes its crime prevention and awareness education programs, and details the ways in which the college upholds Title IX. It also includes potential remedies, sanctions, disciplinary procedures, and other relevant and important facts, data, and procedures.
Other campus safety policies that are required to be disclosed in the annual report under the Clery Act include:
- What happens after the school receives reports of crimes
- How and if a victim can maintain confidentiality
- The ways in which a school provides timely warnings regarding crimes that take place on campus
- How students and employees can obtain local sex offender registry information
- The standard of evidence used in school disciplinary procedures
- How crime data from off-campus student organizations is collected
The Clery act provides students, their family members, college employees, and the general public a glimpse into detailed university crime statistics, as well as information on school safety policies, procedures, and prevention programs.