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Understanding the Clery Act

What Is the Clery Act?

Under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or simply the “Clery Act,” all colleges and universities are required to supply timely warnings to students, faculty, and staff. Anytime a crime has occurred or is occurring that poses a serious or ongoing threat to the rest of the campus, the college must provide timely warnings in a way that is likely to reach every member of the campus community. At WPI, this is accomplished with email announcements, text messages, or other appropriate means.

Under the Clery Act, colleges and universities are required to publish an Annual Safety Report (ASR). The ASR must report all crimes and offenses that occurred by type of crime or offense and by the general location where the crime or offense occurred. The general location categories are 1) on-campus, 2) non-campus, and 3) public property. 

The Clery Act also requires colleges to separately report crimes and offenses that occurred in residential housing, as a subset of the on-campus category. The Clery Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.

The Title IX Act is a civil rights law that focuses on prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender in education programs and activities of educational institutions. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) clarifies that sexual violence is a form of sex discrimination; therefore, colleges and universities have specific responsibilities for addressing sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other gender-based forms of violence.

History of the Clery Act

The Clery Act was signed into law in 1990 after the 1986 rape and murder of Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old college student. 

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs (known as Title IX schools) to disclose information about crimes occurring on their campuses as well as to have specific campus safety and security-related policies and procedures in place.

The 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) amended the Clery Act to expand the rights of campus survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. These amendments also created new requirements related to institutions’ prevention and response efforts to VAWA-related crimes.

How the Jeanne Clery Act and Title IX Act Intersect with One Another

Colleges and universities must comply with the Clery Act and the Title IX Act, both of which address sexual violence incidents.

Clery Crimes and Title IX - Criminal Offenses, Hate Crimes, and VAWA Offenses

The Campus Save Act was part of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The VAWA crimes are included in both the Clery Act and Title IX.

  • Both the Clery Act and Title IX require colleges and universities to provide victims of sexual violence with information in writing about options for and available assistance in—and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, and working accommodations, as well as other supportive and protective measures.
  • Both the Clery Act and Title IX guide disciplinary procedures for sexual violence incidents.
  • Both the Clery Act and Title IX require colleges and universities to explain the types of proceedings, steps involved, and timelines for such proceedings within their policies.
  • Both the Clery Act and Title IX require training for individuals involved in disciplinary proceedings.
  • Both the Clery Act and Title IX state that certain individuals have reporting responsibilities when they become aware that sexual violence has occurred. 
    • Those responsible for reporting under Title IX are referred to as “Responsible Employees” and those required to report under the Clery Act are “Campus Security Authorities (CSA).”

For additional information about the Clery Act and/or Title IX and how they apply to WPI, contact the Title IX Coordinator/Clery Compliance Administrator.

Timely Warnings

Under the Clery Act, colleges and universities use timely warnings to inform the campus community of potential threats against which they can take preventive measures. These ongoing disclosure requirements, when implemented, can help to create, and promote a safe campus environment.

In the event a crime is reported, or a situation arises within the WPI Clery Geography, that in the judgment of the WPI Police Department constitutes a serious or continuing threat, a campus wide “timely warning” notice will be issued.

Timely Warning Notices will be distributed as soon as pertinent information is available, in a manner that withholds the names of victims as confidential, and with the goal of aiding in the prevention of similar occurrences. However, the University may, in appropriate circumstances, include Personal Identifying Information (PII). The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and regulations contained in 34 C.F.R. § 99.36, allow PII to be released in emergency situations. 34 C.F.R. § 99.36, section A, states, “An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record to appropriate parties, including parents of an eligible student, in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.”

Timely Warning Notices are typically written and distributed by the WPI Police Department. Timely Warnings are typically issued on a case-by- case basis in light of all the facts surrounding a crime, including factors such as the following:

  • The nature of the crime.
  • The continuing danger to the campus community.
  • The possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.
  • If the WPI Police Department was not notified in a manner that would allow the department to post a timely warning to the community.

Timely Warning Notices may also be physically posted, even though that is not required by the law, at the sole discretion of WPI. Timely Warning Notices will be issued to the campus community via the WPI ALERT emergency communication system. Timely warnings may also be is- sued through building postings by building administrators. The institution is not required to issue a Timely Warning with respect to crimes confidentially reported to a professional counselor or pastoral counselor.

WPI may not issue timely warnings for the above listed crimes if:

  • The subject(s) has/have been apprehended and the threat of imminent danger to the WPI community has been mitigated by the apprehension.
  • The university will withhold details of a timely warning that may lead to the identification of a victim of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence and or stalking, who does not wish to be identified.
  • The university may withhold information from a timely warning so as not to jeopardize an ongoing investigation and or the apprehension of a suspect(s).
  • The university may not issue a timely warning if the timely warning may result in the destruction of evidence.
  • If the WPI Police Department was not notified in a manner that would allow the department to post a timely warning to the community.

Emergency notifications

Emergency notifications are issued upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on the campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. Unlike timely warnings, applications for emergency notifications are broader than crime and can include the following:

  • Weather incidents
  • Gas leaks
  • Fires
  • Disease outbreak
  • Anything that poses an immediate threat

Some examples of significant emergencies or dangerous situations are:

  • Outbreak of meningitis
  • Norovirus, or other serious illness
  • Approaching tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or other severe weather conditions
  • Gas leak
  • Terrorist incident
  • Civil unrest or rioting
  • Explosion
  • Nearby chemical or hazardous waste spill

WPI uses the WPI ALERT emergency communication system to send out emergency notifications.

John Stewart, Title IX Coordinator/Clery Compliance Administrator

Office: Room 234 Campus Center
Office Phone: 508-831-6514
E-Mail: jstewartTitleIX@wpi.edu

https://www.wpi.edu/offices/title-ix