Institutions: Clery Act needs some serious changes

Sheeraz Qurban

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report campus crime data, support victims of violence, and publicly outline the policies and procedures they have put into place to improve campus safety.

The Clery Act was established in 1990 and is also known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. It's a federal law that requires universities to inform their students of crime statistics and safety policies. The requirements of the act are extensive.

The recent sexual crimes committed inside UNC have drawn public attention to how outdated the act is, and that it needs some serious changes. The Clery Act does not account for changes in public awareness. The act is outdated and herculean efforts are needed to make it more proactive.
Photo byImage by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act, signed in 1990, is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092, with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 CFR 668.46.

The Clery Act is a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.

In order to comply with Clery Act requirements, colleges and universities must understand what the law entails, where their responsibilities lie, and what they can do to actively foster campus safety.

  • The Clery Act states alerts must be sent in a timely manner for incidents that pose a serious or continuing threat to safety.

“The law itself doesn’t define what is considered timely,” said Clery Center Associate Executive Director Abigail Boyer. “It really is going to be based on the level of information that an institution has at the time."

  • “So, what we work with institutions to do is to develop not only their policies for the timely warning but how do you implement practices for how you’re making a consistent evaluation of what you determine to be a serious or ongoing threat?”

“It allows for loopholes and the administration to hide behind it,” the mother said.

“I think it’d be difficult, especially with it being a federal law,” Boyer said of the possibility of changing the Clery Act. “I think it’d be difficult to put a specific timeframe around it.

Regardless of what is dictated by law, the mother of the UNC victim believes universities should go beyond the law, on their own accord, to be transparent.

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