The Clery Act and the Cost of Noncompliance for Colleges

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College student gazing

In April of 1986 Jeanne Clery, a 19-year old Lehigh University college student was brutally raped and murdered in her campus resident hall by Josoph M. Henry. At Henry’s trial it was uncovered the attack on Clery was one of 38 violent crimes recorded at the university in three years but were never publically reported. Clery’s parents sued Lehigh University and won.

In 1990, The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act was signed into effect. This federal statute requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses. Compliance is monitored by the U.S. Department of Education (USDoE) who can impose penalties per each violation.

Noncompliance with the Clery Act is a very costly for concern colleges and universities. The cost for a single violation for 2019 is $57,317. In addition to fines and punitive damages, institutions can lose their funding for financial aid and incur significant damage to the intuition’s reputation, deterring potential applicants and impacting enrollment.

The following are examples of the fines incurred from noncompliance to Clery Act reporting and illustrate exactly how costly multiple violations in compliance are to institutions:

The Clery Act is about crime reporting and Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) are a critical part of the process. CSAs, which includes campus security professionals, provide vital support and create numerous better outcomes across campuses. Often, CSAs are the frontline safety and security resource for both students and faculty.

A recent occurrence at a campus in upstate New York highlights the critical and preemptive role security professionals play in recognizing and communicating incidents. A female student shared with our security team a social media post made by her ex-boyfriend. The post detailed his intention to violently assault her and her current boyfriend and then kill himself. The campus Security Professionals took her concerns very seriously and assisted her in reporting it to local authorities.

Unfortunately, the social media post was not just a scare tactic. Shortly after the incident report was filed, the ex-boyfriend was spotted on campus, recognized by one of our Security Professionals. Through collaboration the with local law enforcement agency, the Allied Universal team assisted in the peaceful arrest of the individual before any harm was done.

There is no doubt that threats and risks exist. Reducing impact and occurrence is achieved through prevention and vigilant attendance to safety and security policies, which includes capturing and reporting incidents swiftly for remediation.

About the Author

Frank Spano, JD, Director of Education

Frank Spano, JD, Director of Education

Frank lends his extensive security experience to support our K-12 and Higher Ed clients in matters of emergency preparedness, safety and regulatory compliance. Frank holds an AA in Criminal Justice from Valley Forge Military College, a BS in Occupational Education from Wayland Baptist University, a Citation in Strategic Management from Harvard University, a Juris Doctorate specializing in Homeland and National Security Law from Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School. He is currently completing an MBA from Columbia Southern University.