The Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 is an essential piece of legislation. This law seeks to keep track of incidents that take place on college campuses and university grounds. The campus compiles the data, which is then conveyed to the Secretary. This takes place annually in October. “The Department of Education is committed to assisting schools in providing students nationwide a safe environment in which to learn and to keep students, parents and employees well informed about campus security” (Campus, 2017). The data obtained in the report is a reflection of the focus of the campuses.
The campuses focus on criminal offenses that take place on the grounds. These criminal offenses would include such crimes as robbery, burglary, arson, sexual assault, drug and alcohol use, automobile theft, and manslaughter. This law is essential, but it took tragedy to occur before this was created. In 1986, Jeanne Cleary attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. She was raped, beaten, and robbed by another student whose name was Josoph M. Henry.
The parents of Cleary wanted to make a difference and did not want another incident like this happening as a result of a shortage in campus security so they did what any other family would do, they pushed for change and received it when Congress implemented the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990.According to Bowles, Tsantir, & Powers (n.d.), the Clery Act currently requires institutions to act or report in the following ways: publish an annual report disclosing three years of crime statistics and campus security policy statements; provide timely warnings to the campus community about crimes that pose an ongoing threat to students and employees; maintain and make available a public crime log in their police or security department (if one exists); maintain a daily residence hall fire log and report and publish an annual fire safety report alone or along with the annual crime statistics; provide certain rights to sexual assault victims and make specific statements about sex offenders; take action within 24 hours when students in residence halls are reported missing.If a school receives Title IV funding, it must comply with the Clery Act unless the incident occurs outside of the physical property associated with the institution.
Students who only complete online courses or study abroad are typically not protected by the Cleary Act. If any incidents occur on a property owned or controlled by the school, it must be reported. Professional counselors are exempt from the Cleary Act because of client confidentiality. Pastors are exempt as well. They can be given permission to disclose some information as long as they don’t disclose the identity of the victim under the voluntary report. “Clery Act fines were originally $25,000 per violation but have increased periodically from $27,500 to $35,000 and then $53,907, according to Campus Security Consultant S. Daniel Carter” (Winn, 2017). The fines have now increased to $54,789.
Fines increase based on the number of violations. Pennsylvania State University paid the ultimate price when Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of sexually abusing underage people. The institution was fined $2.4 million. Updates were made to the Clery Act in 2013 to include: hate crimes, violence to a partner, stalking, and intimidation.
The Clery Act is another important federal law governing higher education.