2016 Updates to Handbook for Campus Safety and Security
The U.S. Department of Education recently released the 2016 edition of The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting. The handbook replaces the 2011 version and includes information on the amended Clery Act – to include the changes to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 – and new regulations that were added by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA).
Please see: The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, 2016 Edition
The Clery Act
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (better known as the Clery Act) requires colleges and universities, both public and private, participating in federal student aid programs to disclose campus safety information, and imposes certain basic requirements for handling incidents of sexual violence and emergency situations. Disclosures about crime statistics and summaries of security policies are made once a year in an Annual Security Report (ASR), and information about specific crimes and emergencies is made publicly available on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
First enacted in 1990 and updated regularly, the law is named in memory of Jeanne Clery who was raped and murdered in her dorm room on April 5, 1986.
Updates to The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting
The most recent handbook provides practical information on how to implement Clery Act requirements, including the most recent amendments addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.
In 2013, The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE) was signed into measure as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. SaVE requires institutions to increase transparency regarding sexual violence on campus. Additional initiatives of the Act include:
- Guarantee victims enhanced rights
- Provide for standards in institutional conduct proceedings
- Provide campus community-wide prevention educational programming
The three offenses of focus include: Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking. Institutions must include the following crime statistics in yearly reports and made publicly available.
Dating Violence: defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
For the purposes of this definition—
- Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
- Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence: defined as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed –
- By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim.
- By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common.
- By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.
- By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
- By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
Stalking: is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to –
- Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others.
- Suffer substantial emotional distress
A single course of conduct may include varying Stalking activities and may include acts committed over electronic communication – emails, texts or social media.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act
When a college or university participates in federal financial aid programs – as almost all institutions do – the institution agrees to follow the terms set forth in the HEOA Program Participation Agreement, including the myriad disclosure requirements set forth in 20 U.S.C. 1092.
Institutions are required to disclose information on everything from college costs, graduation data and other consumer information, to emergency procedures and fire safety reports.
In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), by October 29, 2011, each postsecondary institution in the United States that participates in Title IV student aid programs must post a net price calculator on its Web site that uses institutional data to provide estimated net price information to current and prospective students and their families based on a student’s individual circumstances. To assist institutions in meeting this obligation, The National Center for Education Statistics, in cooperation with the Office of Postsecondary Education and IT Innovative Solutions Corp., has designed and developed a fully functional net price calculator available to all Title IV postsecondary institutions for use on their institutional Web sites.
Institutions Must Stay Current
The handbook presents step-by-step procedures, examples and references for higher education institutions to follow in meeting the campus safety and security requirements of the Higher Education Act of 1965. In addition to avoiding fines ($35,000 per violation), institutions must adhere to the rules and regulations to ensure safety for students and employees.