Institutions Are Reminded To Be Careful When It Comes to Clery Act Reporting

November 5, 2013

By: John Gaal

cleary-actThe recent experience of Dominican College in New York should serve as a reminder to all institutions of the importance of accurate Clery Act reporting.  In 2009, Dominican College was subjected to a U.S. Department of Education program review for the 2006 and 2007 periods.  In 2013, the Department of Education finally determined that the College had failed in its Clery Act reporting obligations in several respects, notwithstanding the College’s efforts at correcting those errors upon notification of the deficiencies by the Department.  According to the Department’s findings, the College reported inaccurate crime statistics, it did not properly define and report crimes statistics separately for non-contiguous facilities, it did not properly and timely distribute its Annual Security Report and its report did not contain required policy statements, and it did not maintain accurate daily crime logs. The College was initially fined $262,500 for these violations.  Following an appeal, the fine was reduced a few weeks ago by the Department to $200,000 by way of a settlement agreement between the Department and the College. Understanding, and complying with, the requirements of the Clery Act and its reporting obligations is not only “the law,” but it should be clear given Dominican College’s recent experience that it just makes good economic sense. Speaking of the Clery Act, the Department has recently announced its intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to prepare proposed regulations to address the changes to the campus safety and security reporting requirements in the Clery Act as a result of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA).