The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics
Act (the Clery Act)
The Clery Act, found in section 485(f) of the Higher Education Act
of 1965, as amended (HEA), requires IHEs that participate in the Title
IV HEA federal student financial assistance programs to disclose campus
crime statistics and security information.1 Among other things, the Clery
Act requires IHEs to provide timely warnings to the campus community of
certain crimes reported to campus security authorities that represent a threat to
students and employees, and to maintain a log of crimes reported to the campus police
or security department. In addition, IHEs must include in their annual security
report, a statement of policy regarding the institution’s emergency response and
evacuation procedures. This requirement complements and supports the importance
of clearly delineating the responsibilities of individuals involved during an emergency
response, the need to develop and implement notification and communication strategies
to share information with the campus community, the imperative of testing and practicing
a higher ed EOP, and the importance of keeping the community informed of current
policies and procedures.
Generally, the requirements under the Clery Act fall into three categories:
- Reporting crime statistics and disclosing security-related policies
- Every IHE must collect, classify, and count reported crimes and disclose crime statistics
for certain crimes to the campus community and the public (through the U.S. Department
of Education’s campus security website).
Crimes Reported Under the Clery Act
Hate Crimes (any of the crimes listed under Criminal Offenses in addition to the
Arrests and Referrals for Disciplinary Action
Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter
Weapons Law Violations
Liquor Law Violations
- Non-forcible (i.e.,incest and statutory rape)
Drug Law Violations
Destruction, Damage, or Vandalism of Property
Motor Vehicle Theft
- Under certain circumstances an IHE must issue a campus alert to provide members
of the campus community with information necessary to make informed decisions about
their health and safety. There are two kinds of alerts under the Clery Act:
- Timely warnings are issued for certain crimes that represent a threat to the safety
of students or employees.
- Emergency notifications are issued upon the confirmation of a significant emergency
or dangerous situation occurring on the campus that involves an immediate threat
to the health or safety of students or employees.
- Every IHE must publish an annual security report that contains safety- and security-related
policy statements and crime statistics, and distribute it to all current students
and employees. IHEs also must inform prospective students and employees about the
availability of the report.
- Every IHE must submit crime statistics to the U.S. Department of Education annually.
Those statistics are available to the public via College Navigator as well as via the Office of Postsecondary
Education’s Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool.
- Maintaining a crime log at IHEs that have a campus police or security department.
IHEs that maintain a campus police or security department must keep a daily crime
log of reported crimes that is open to public inspection.
- Disclosing missing student notification and fire-safety requirements for IHEs that
have any on-campus student housing facility
- IHEs with on-campus student housing facilities must disclose missing student notification
procedures that pertain to students residing in those facilities.
- IHEs with on-campus student housing facilities must disclose fire safety information
related to those facilities. IHEs must provide this information to students and
employees, and potential students and employees, in the same manner as they disclose
crime information under the Clery Act.2 These IHEs must
- Keep a fire log that is open for public inspection;
- Publish an annual fire safety report with policy statements and fire statistics
associated with each on-campus student housing facility, provide students and employees
with the report, and inform prospective students and employees of the availability
of the report; and
- Submit fire statistics to the U.S. Department of Education annually.
As part of the emergency planning process, it is critical that IHEs take the time
to review and understand all the Clery Act requirements. We focus on two
of those requirements: timely warnings and emergency notifications. The U.S. Department
of Education’s Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting details all of
the Clery Act requirements in depth and provides sample policy statements,
diagrams, and other helpful aids for IHEs in complying with this statute.
The Clery Act requires IHEs to alert the campus community to certain crimes
that are reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies, and are
considered by the IHE to represent a threat to students and employees. These alerts
must be done in a manner that is timely and that will aid in the prevention of such
crimes. The Clery Act does not include a specific definition of “timely”.
However, the intent of a timely warning is to enable people to protect themselves;
therefore, warnings should be issued as soon as pertinent information is available.
The decision to issue a timely warning should be made on a case-by-case basis, taking
into account the nature of the crime, the danger to the campus community, and the
possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.
An IHE must include in the annual security report a policy statement that accurately
reflects the institution’s timely warning policy and practice. The policy should
specify the circumstances under which the IHE will issue a timely warning, how those
timely warnings will be distributed, and the individual or office responsible for
issuing a timely warning. IHEs must take appropriate steps to ensure that timely
warnings are communicated to individuals with disabilities, including those who
have hearing or vision disabilities, as effectively as they are to others.
IHEs must also develop and disclose emergency response and evacuation procedures,
including emergency notification procedures that describe their response to significant
emergency or dangerous situations involving an immediate threat to the health or
safety of students or employees occurring on the campus.3 This requirement
is intended to ensure that an IHE has sufficiently prepared for an emergency situation
on campus, has tested those procedures to identify and improve on weaknesses, and
has considered how it will inform the campus community and other individuals, such
as parents and guardians.
IHEs must include a policy statement in their annual security reports that accurately
reflect their emergency response and evacuation procedures. This policy statement
- The procedures the IHE will use to immediately notify the campus community upon
the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an
immediate threat to the health or safety of students or staff occurring on the campus,
unless issuing a notification will compromise efforts to contain the emergency;
- A description of the process the IHE will use to confirm that there is a significant
emergency or dangerous situation, determine the appropriate segment or segments
of the campus community to receive a notification, determine the content of the
notification, and initiate the notification system;
- A statement that the IHE will, without delay and taking into account the safety
of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification
system, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible
authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or
otherwise mitigate the emergency;
- A list of the titles of the person(s) or organization(s) responsible for carrying
out the actions described above;
- The IHE’s procedures for disseminating emergency information to the larger community;
- The IHE’s procedures to test the emergency response and evacuation procedures on
at least an annual basis.
In addition, the IHE should take steps to ensure the emergency notification planning,
testing, and implementation will provide such notifications and related information
to individuals with disabilities, including those with vision or hearing disabilities,
as effectively as they are provided to others.
Testing a higher ed EOP is critical to the successful implementation of the appropriate
course of action during an emergency situation. The Clery Act provides
flexibility to IHEs in designing their tests and does not prescribe a particular
type that must be used. These tests may be announced or unannounced, but IHEs must
publicize their emergency response and evacuation procedures in conjunction with
at least one test per calendar year. They must also document, for each test, a description
of the exercise, the date and time of the exercise, and whether it was announced
Emergency Notification and Timely Warning: Sorting Out the Differences
Scope: Wide focus on any significant emergency or dangerous situation
(e.g., crime, severe storm, chemical spill, disease outbreak)
Scope: Required for certain crimes
Why: Emergency notification is triggered by an event that is currently
occurring on or imminently threatening the campus. Initiate emergency notification
procedures for any significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate
threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus.
Why: Timely warnings are triggered by crimes that have already
occurred (but may be continuing) but which represent an ongoing threat. An IHE must
issue a timely warning for certain crimes that are reported to its campus security
authorities4 or a local law enforcement agency, and is considered by
the institution to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.
Where: Applies to situations that occur on campus
Where: Applies to crimes that occur on campus, in or on non-campus
buildings or property, and on public property10
When: Initiate procedures immediately upon confirmation that a
dangerous situation or emergency exists or threatens.
When: Issue a warning as soon as the pertinent information is available.
An IHE that follows its emergency notification procedures is not required to issue
a timely warning based on the same circumstances; however, the institution must
provide adequate follow-up information to the community as needed.