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Requirements and Steps to Compliance

The Clery Act

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What is the Clery Act

The Clery Act includes new regulations related to emergency response, emergency notification, timely warnings, missing student notification, fire safety reporting, and hate crime reporting.

Consequences of Not Meeting Clery Act Requirements

In 2016, a major institution was hit with a $2.4 million dollar fine for not meeting one of the requirements.

History of the Clery Act

The Clery Act had its origin in 1990 when the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 was established, amending the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act was created after a student named Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in a residence hall at Lehigh University in 1986. The Act required higher education institutions that received federal funding to report crime statistics, notify the campus community of threats, and compile and distribute an annual campus security report to the campus community, prospective students, and employees. In 1998, the Act was further amended and renamed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the “Clery Act”) in her memory. In 2008, following the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 reauthorized the Higher Education Act of 1965, and included the Clery Act requirements, which were amended based on lessons learned from the Virginia Tech incident. This amended version of the Clery Act includes new regulations related to emergency response, emergency notification, timely warnings, missing student notification, fire safety reporting, and hate crime reporting.

Clery Act Communication Requirements

Criterion

Timely Warning

Emergency Notification

What

Crimes that continue to pose a threat Any significant emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees

Where

On-campus or non-campus (including “public property” that falls in your Clery Act Geography) On-campus only (including oncampus “public property” that falls in your Clery Act Geography)

Who

The entire campus community Can be tailored to the segment of the community that is threatened

When

Sent when enough information is available to adequately describe the threat Sent immediately upon confirmation of the threat

5 Steps to Clery Act Communication Requirement Compliance

Complying with the Clery Act, and especially its emergency communications requirements, is certainly not a one-person job. Bringing together experts from across your institution’s administration can greatly assist in developing clear, defendable policies and procedures regarding the Clery Act’s complex emergency communications requirements.

The second step is to determine exactly where geographically the Clery Act applies to your campus community. The Clery Act requires the dissemination of emergency communications when a threat occurs on the campus.

Criterion

Timely Warning

Emergency Notification

What

Crimes that continue to pose a threat Any significant emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees

Where

On-campus or non-campus (including “public property” that falls in your Clery Act Geography) On-campus only (including oncampus “public property” that falls in your Clery Act Geography)

Who

The entire campus community Can be tailored to the segment of the community that is threatened

When

Sent when enough information is available to adequately describe the threat Sent immediately upon confirmation of the threat

It is very important for compliance that you document everything your Clery Act Committee decides upon, especially your institution’s specific conditions (i.e. your Clery Act Geography, your specific procedures for issuing timely warnings and emergency notifications, etc.) for adhering to the Clery Act. The Handbook advises to “do what you say and say what you so.” In this regard, each institution should create protocols/plans for implementing emergency notifications and timely warnings, as well as develop emergency response and evacuation procedures for the campus as a whole.

Emergency communication is not over once the plans are written; implementing and improving the plans occurs on an almost daily basis. However, if you are doing as the Handbook suggests (“say what you do and do what you say”), the implementation step of this process should be relatively straightforward. Use your plans and procedures wisely and accurately, disseminate emergency notifications and timely warnings per your policy statements on each, continue meeting with your Clery Committee, and make changes and revisions as needed.

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The Clery Act’s Emergency Communications Requirements: Five Steps to Compliance