What is the Clery Act? What’s so important about it? What you – a student – should know about it? Read on to learn the answers to these questions.
What is the Clery Act?
Under the Clery Act, colleges receiving federal funding must track and record crimes that happen over and around the campus. They are also required to make the crime statistics public every year. The institution must publish their findings in the form of an annual security report.
The colleges must also maintain a crime log and have an emergency notification and timely warning system in place. The Clery Act also contains the campus sexual assault victim’s bill of rights. We’ll discuss it in the later half of the article.
What’s an Annual Security Report?
An Annual Security Report, also called the ASR, is a compilation of the statistics of campus crime, and what the college is doing to prevent such crimes. The report shares what the college is doing to better the safety of its students and staff. The Clery Act requires that colleges publish and distribute their Annual Security Reports by October 1st every year.
The report gene rally contains the information listed below.
- Statistics of campus crime for last three years
- Campus disciplinary procedures
- How college deals with campus crimes
- Security measures in place
- Victim rights about sexual assault complaints
Some colleges also publish their Annual Security Reports online, so if you can also check your college website to access the report.
Colleges are also required to maintain a crime log that everyone can access. The crime log would contain the information about all the crimes that are covered under the Clery Act. You’d find information about the following five types of crimes.
- Criminal Offences
- Sex offences
- Violations of state laws for drug, alcohol, and firearm possession
- Hate crimes
- Violence against women (Crimes covered under VAWA)
The crime log would list every crime by type, date, time and the location of the incident. The report would cover all Clery crimes, whether they happen over the campus, close to the campus, or at an off-campus location used by the college.
You can use the crime log for learning about crimes that occurred within the last 60 days. For any crime that’s older than 60 days, you may have to file a request with your college. Colleges must fulfill all such requests within two business days.
Your college should also have an emergency notification system in place. The notification system should be capable of reaching you without delay if there’s an imminent threat to your health or safety.
The college is responsible to notify you right away if an active shooter is at large, or if a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection is identified over the campus.
Generally, such notifications warn you of the threat, how you can protect yourself, the contact points, and how you can seek assistance. It’s advisable to find out how the emergency notification system of your college works.
Just like emergency notifications, your college must also have a timely warning system. Your college has the responsibility of warning you if a crime has occurred over the campus (or is in progress), and if it could pose a threat to you or those around the campus.
Just like the Emergency notifications, timely warnings are meant to keep you safe, and advise you of how you can protect yourself, and from where to seek help. Timely warnings specify the reported crime, the time and the location of the crime.
The campus sexual assault victim’s bill of rights
Under the Clery Act, victims of sexual violence have certain rights. Colleges must provide victims a written note of their basic rights and the options available with them.
Colleges have the obligation of protecting the victim from retaliation for exercising these rights. They must protect the victim from intimidation, coercion, and discrimination if they report an incident.
There should also be a training program in place for preventing sexual violence. It should
- Explain college policies and procedures
- How you can report incidents
- Your right to request accommodations
- Available resources and support options
The college must also disclose information about their disciplinary process.
Victims can file a Clery Complaint if they find that their college is not following the Clery Act and has violated the victim’s bill of rights.
(The campus sexual assault victim’s bill of rights covers all incidents of sexual violence, including dating violence, stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault.)
If this fall would be your first year of college, then consider studying the annual security report of your college an important task. You should receive the notification by October 1st. Or you could visit the college website. Reports submitted under the Clery Act contain information that you cannot find in the recruitment material. Understand the precautions, if any, you need to take. It’s for your own safety.
Do you want to know more about the Clery Act? Please leave your queries in the comment section. Our readers would be more than happy to share their opinion with you.