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Education Department Issues Final Rules Aimed at Campus Safety

October 20, 2014

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​The Department of Education (ED) issued final rules Monday to implement changes to the Clery Act made by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), which President Obama signed into law last year.

The Clery Act, known formally as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Crime Statistics Act, requires colleges and universities to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses.

VAWA expands the information colleges must incorporate into their annual crime reports to include the new “Clery crimes” of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

ACE submitted comments in July on the proposed rules, responding primarily to areas where ED specifically invited input. The proposed rules were negotiated by a rulemaking panel and released in April—one of the few instances in recent years where ED panelists were able to reach a consensus on a draft rule.

Under the final rules, colleges are required to compile and report statistics for incidents of dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, in addition to the existing reporting requirements for certain other crimes, including sexual assaults.

Other changes include adding gender identity and national origin as categories of bias under the Clery Act's definition of hate crimes; requiring institutions to ensure that their disciplinary proceedings are prompt, fair and impartial; strengthening protections for victim confidentiality; and specifying requirements for programs to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The rules will take effect in July 2015. Until then, institutions are expected to make a good-faith effort to comply.

“Many institutions have already begun conducting various types of training,” ACE General Counsel Ada Meloy told The Chronicle of Higher Education. "Every college wants to have as clean a record as possible with regards to sexual assault, and institutions are endeavoring to carry out the regulations."

“I hope that when they are audited or reviewed by the Department of Education that those good-faith efforts will be recognized.”

For more on the “good faith” compliance requirement, see Meloy’s blog post on Higher Education Today.

Also see:

Final Changes to the Clery Act
Inside Higher Ed (Oct. 20, 2014)

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