Institutions Must Make 'Good-Faith Effort' on Clery Act Compliance

The U.S. Department of Education issued guidance on Monday to institutions regarding their responsibilities to comply with changes in the campus safety and crime reporting law, known as the Clery Act, before the department issues final rules outlining how colleges should work to prevent crimes such as sexual assault and domestic violence.

Last year, Congress approved and President Obama signed into law the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) which, among other provisions, amended the Clery Act to require colleges and universities to compile statistics for incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and to include certain policies, procedures, and programs pertaining to these incidents in their annual security reports.

The Education Department initiated a rulemaking process earlier this year to develop new regulations to implement the VAWA changes. After three negotiating sessions in January, February, and March, the rulemaking panel reached consensus on a set of draft regulations. The department is expected to publish final regulations by November 1, with the new rules effective July 1, 2015.

In a Dear Colleague Letter issued on Monday, the department said it had received "numerous inquiries" from institutions asking about their responsibilities because the changes affect annual security reports that schools must issue by October.

Until the department's final rules take effect, colleges "must make a good-faith effort to comply with the statutory provisions as written," the letter states. For example, colleges will be expected to revise their policy statements to include procedures for responding to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and to identify the standard of evidence they will use.


Related Links

July 14, 2014 Dear Colleague Letter