Clery Act

Name of law: Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics (Clery) Act

Why it matters: The Clery Act requires greater transparency and timely warnings from colleges and universities about crimes that are committed on campus, including crimes of sexual violence.

When it passed: 1990; most recently amended by Campus SaVE in 2013

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or the Clery Act, requires public and private colleges and universities to disclose information about certain crimes that occur on or near campus. The Act applies to all colleges and universities that receive any federal funding, including student financial aid.

1. Colleges that receive federal funding must be transparent about certain crimes, including crimes of sexual violence.

Under the Clery Act, institutions are required to disclose information about certain crimes. It is enforced by the United States Department of Education, and institutions that do not comply could face a fine in excess of $30,000. The list of crimes that must be transparently reported has expanded through reauthorizations and amendments, like the Campus SaVE Act. The list includes stalking, intimidation, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and hate crimes that happen on and around campuses.


2. Colleges are responsible for publishing an Annual Security Report (ASR).

Under the Clery Act, the Annual Security Report (ASR), which is submitted once a year, must document three years worth of specific crime statistics. The report must also include procedures and information pertaining to basic crime victims’ rights. Certain policies must also be clearly explained, including education awareness programs for students and employees and a summary of emergency response systems and procedures. Institutions must make the ASR available to all current and prospective students and institutional employees. A copy of the ASR can often be found on the institution's website.


3. Colleges must maintain a detailed, accessible public crime log.

All colleges must maintain a public crime log that documents the nature, date, time, and general location of crimes, including certain sex offenses. Academic institutions must enter the crimes into the log within two business days of receiving notification that an incident occurred. The log must also be accessible to the public during normal business hours, and many institutions publish it on their websites.


4. Crime statistics must include incidents that occur on, around, and in some cases, off campus.

The Clery Act requires colleges to disclose crime statistics that happen on, adjacent to, or within campus both in their public crime log and the school’s Clery Report. These locations include sites that are adjacent to or within campus bounds, as well as off-campus sites that are associated with the college. Clery Reports for colleges around the country are aggregated by the Department of Education—you can search by school or state.


5. Colleges must issue timely warnings and have an emergency response system in place.

Each time a school is notified that a Clery Act crime has occurred on campus, an institutional official must review that crime to decide if it represents a “serious or ongoing” threat. If so, the school must issue a timely warning to the entire campus. Colleges and universities must also establish and, as appropriate, implement emergency response, notification, and testing systems. Institutions must also inform the campus community about any “significant emergency or dangerous situations involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees on the campus.” Such situations may include, but are not limited to, crimes of sexual violence, fires, earthquakes, on-campus shootings, and other situations listed under the Act.


6. Colleges must protect the confidentiality of victims.

The Clery Act does not permit a college or university to release identifying information about a victim. In addition, an institution’s Annual Security Report does not require any information other than the date of the report, the date of the crime, and the general location. There is no requirement to provide personally identifying information in regard to crimes.


Read the full text.

Survivor Story: Jeanne Clery

In 1986, freshman Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in her own campus residence. The event led to increased attention on unreported crimes on numerous college campuses across the country. In 1990, Congress enacted the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Act has been amended five times since enactment to include increased safety and reporting measures, most recently in 2013.

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