The Clery Act in Detail

The Clery Act applies to institutions of higher education and is confined to campus crimes, which occur on campus, adjacent to campus, or off-campus when associated with the institution. The Clery Act was expanded in 2013 with the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); accordingly, the Campus SaVE Act is now a part of colleges’ Clery obligations and its requirements are included here.

1. Recording Campus Crime Statistics

All reported campus crimes are recorded in a Daily Crime Log and an Annual Security Report, whose location may be found on your school’s website. Daily Crime Logs must be updated within 2 days of a report (unless it would jeopardize an ongoing police investigation). An Annual Security Report is released each October and contains the last 3 years worth of reported crimes occurring on campus. Several crimes must be listed, which include:

  • Stalking: ongoing conduct that could cause a reasonable person to fear for the safety of themselves or others, or suffer emotional distress (e.g., following, monitoring, threatening, communicating to or about the victim, or interfering with a victim’s property)
  • Intimidation: words or conduct that places the victim in reasonable fear of bodily harm (does not include use of a weapon, which is a different crime under Clery)
  • Dating Violence: threats or actual sexual or physical abuse in a dating relationship
  • Domestic Violence: crime of violence committed by former spouse, cohabiting partner, or someone with whom you share a child
  • Sexual Assault: rape (oral, anal or vaginal), fondling, incest, or statutory rape
  • Hate Crimes: any crime motivated by perpetrator bias against the victim based on race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, and disability (whether actual or perceived)

The Clery Act does not require a college or university that receives a report of a campus crime to initiate an investigation, nor does it permit a university to release identifying information about a victim. Clery Act crime reports include only the date of the report, the date of the crime, and the general location.

2. Timely Warnings

Whenever there is a campus crime that presents an ongoing threat to the campus community, colleges and universities must provide a timely warning to the community with information to prevent similar crimes. The warning should withhold identifying information about any victims, such as the name of the victim.

3. Policies on Crime

Every year colleges and universities must provide an Annual Security Report detailing campus policies on the following topics:

  • How a school works to prevent crimes
  • How the school encourages reports of crime
  • Who should receive crime reports on campus
  • How a school issues a timely warning
  • What campus procedures are followed when a crime is reported
  • Whether campus security can arrest and initiate criminal investigation (or whether the report must go to the local police and which police would have jurisdiction)
  • How a victim can: preserve evidence; report a crime to campus officials, the police, or both; receive assistance from campus officials to report to police; decline to report to the police; report confidentially; receive accommodations upon request; and contact support services on or off campus
  • What remedies and accommodations may be available to victims
  • What the campus disciplinary process entails
  • What standard of evidence is used in campus disciplinary hearings
  • How the school monitors crime reports from student organizations off campus
  • Where local sex offender registry information can be obtained

4. Victim Rights

Any student or employee who becomes a victim of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (whether on or off campus) has the right to receive written explanation of their rights and options.

5. Policies on Prevention Education

Colleges and universities must have a policy in their Annual Security Report about primary education and awareness programs for incoming students and employees, as well as ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns.

Program and campaign topics:

  • Prevention of crime
  • Campus security procedures and practices for personal safety
  • Prohibition of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
  • Definitions of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
  • Definition of consent for sexual activity within the local jurisdiction
  • Bystander intervention including safe and positive options to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk
  • Risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior or potential attack
  • Information on: possible sanctions and protective measures; procedures for victims to follow to preserve evidence, report an offense to campus, report to police and receive assistance from the campus, decline to report to campus or police, and obtain protective or other orders regarding safety; campus disciplinary hearings; protecting the confidentiality of victims; available resources for health, legal assistance, mental health, or advocacy; and options for academic, living, transportation, and working accommodations

6. Protection Against Retaliation

The Clery Act protects against retaliation by an institution, officer, employee, or agent of an institution for exercising their rights under the Act. Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, coercion, discrimination, or any other form of retaliation.

7. Disciplinary Procedures

Colleges and universities must have a policy on campus disciplinary proceedings (from investigation to the hearing to the final resolution) for dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Such campus disciplinary proceeding must:

  • Be prompt, fair and impartial
  • Be adjudicated by officials receiving annually trained on: issues of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and conducting investigations and hearing that protects safety of victims and promotes accountability

Procedural rights for both victim and accused include:

  • Same opportunity to have others present as witnesses
  • Opportunity to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice
  • Receive simultaneous written notification of: delay and the reason for the delay; outcome of disciplinary hearing; opportunity to appeal the result; changes to results; results that are final; and reason for the results and sanction imposed

How Do I Report a Clery Act Violation?

The U.S. Department of Education enforces the Clery Act (including the new Campus SaVE provision), so complaints can be filed through their Clery Act Compliance Division at: clery@ed.gov. For information on filing a complaint, visit our resource here. Schools that violate the Clery Act may face warnings, up to $35,000 per violation fines, the limitation or suspension of federal aid, or the loss of eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs. If you are unsure if your school has violated the Clery Act consider seeking a lawyer or non-profit, like the Clery Center, to review your case.

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Although these resources have been written with the guidance of legal experts, we are not lawyers, and the information on this website does not constitute legal advice. We encourage you to contact a lawyer to discuss your complaint or suit.