Campus Security Act of 1990 Clery Act Term Paper

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Clery Act

The Freedom Information Act of 2002 reported 2,351 occurrences of forcible sex offenses on campus and 1,670 in residence halls; 2,953 aggravated assaults on campus; 2,147 robberies on campus and 29,256 burglaries also on campus; and 1,098 arsons on campus in that year alone. This was the summary of campus crime statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education (Security on Campus 2004).

This document and national studies reveal the prevalence of sexual assault on both male and female college and university students. In a number of these recent surveys conducted in approximately 6,000 schools, one of four female students admitted to having been subjected to forced sexual contact or forced sexual intercourse and that 90% of them knew their offenders. At the time of assault, 75% of these male students and 55% of the female were either drunk or under the influence of drugs (Security on Campus).

The awareness of campus safety was raised by the murder of Jeanne Clery at her dormitory at the Lehigh University on April 5, 1986. Jeanne was first tortured, raped and then sodomized before she was killed by a stranger who was then under the influence of drugs. The attacker entered through three opened doors, which should have been locked.

He was eventually convicted and sentenced to death (Clery 2001).

Jeanne's parents, Connie and Howard, learned that campus crimes were "the best well-kept secrets in the country" before 1988, with only four per cent of all colleges reporting crime statistics to the FBI, to parents or anyone else. They noted with horror that in 1987 alone, there were no less than 31 murders, more than 1,500 armed robberies and 13,000 physical assaults on college campuses in the country. The House of Representatives also recently conducted a survey with the findings that 38% of their female subjects were either raped or victims of felony sexual assaults.

Jeanne's parents also bewailed the callous cover-up of the Lehigh University officials who first publicly passed off Jeanne's murder as a mere "aberration," in an attempt at salvaging the school's image. The school's spokesman disowned any negligence on its part and claimed that its safety policies were complete, despite school officials' knowledge of the occurrence of violent crimes and 181 reports of opened doors in its dormitory four months before her murder (Clery).

With the lifting of public consciousness in the indictment of Jeanne's murderer, the U.S. Congress codified the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (or Clery Act) as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Security on Campus 2004). It is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to promptly report or reveal information about campus crime and security policies. These schools include participants in federal student aid programs. The implementing agency is the U.S. Department of Education that fines violators up to $27,500. Congress enacted the Clery Act and signed into law by President George Bush in 1990 as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990. The law was championed by the Clerys who also founded the non-profit Security on Campus, Inc. In 1987.

The Clery Act requires schools to publish an annual report every October 1 on campus crime statistics and security policy statements, including and especially sexual assault policies that guarantee the victims' basic rights, the law enforcement authority of campus police and where victims can report crime (Clery). The U.S. Department of Education and all current students and employees should receive copies of the report.

This document specifies where these statistics should be published and from what sources they should be gathered. They must come from campus police or security, local law enforcement agencies, and school officials responsible for the safety and security of students. These statistics must be disseminated throughout the campus, un-obstructed public places immediately adjacent to, or running through, the campus, and non-campus facilities, including Greek housing and remote classrooms (Clery). Incidence and actual figures must be reported on criminal homicide, whether murder and non-negligent as well as negligent manslaughter; sex offenses, whether forcible or non-forcible sex offenses; robbery; aggravated assault; burglary; motor vehicle theft; and arson.

This federal law also obliges schools to report and publish violations to the Liquor Law, Drug Law and Illegal Weapon Possession Law, if these violations result in an arrest of disciplinary referral. Statistics must also be clearly broken down into "on campus," "residential facilities for students on campus," "non-campus buildings" and "on public property" like streets and sidewalks (Clery). In addition, schools must provide all students with easy access to timely warning information and an extensive public crime log. This timely warning information scheme is a collection of subjective data the school must issue when it feels or suspects the presence of an "ongoing condition or threat to students and employees." The information includes sources beyond the crime log - campus police or security, other campus officials, and off-campus law enforcements - but is limited to crimes listed in the annual report.

The United States Congress enacted the Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights (1992), as part of the Higher Education Amendments, and was signed into law by President George Bush in July that same year. It was first introduced in May 1991 as a legislation by Congressman Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, which required all public and private colleges and universities participating in the federal student aid programs to award basic rights to sexual assault victims and inform them of the option to report the assault to proper law enforcement authorities. School violators can be fined up to $25,000 or divested of their participation in the federal student aid programs. Complaints on the failure of a particular school to abide by the law would be filed with the U.S. Department of Education.

The Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights was incorporated into the campus security reporting requirements of the federal law establishing and covering all student aid programs (U.S. Congress). It was first conceived by the late Frank Carrington, then legal counsel to Security On Campus, Inc. In order to tackle victimization and contain re-victimization of rape survivors at college campuses. Carrington bewailed that many public-image-conscious schools were more inclined towards protecting that image than helping victims and seeing that justice is done. Close to 200 members of the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Susan Molinari of New York and student and victims' rights groups supported the legislation (U.S. Congress).

This Bill of Rights (1992) mandates each institution of higher education to develop and distribute a statement of policy on campus sexual assault programs on the prevention of sex offenses and the promotion of awareness of rape, acquaintance rape and other sex offenses through education programs, through sanctions of these offenses, and the procedures to follow in reporting an incidence and in trying cases for disciplinary action.

The Bill provides equal rights between the accuser and the accused. Both will be duly informed about the action, accorded the opportunity to have others present and notified about the outcome of the action. It also informs students about their right or option to report the incident to the proper authorities, move to another school, secure counseling services or change living conditions when this change is available and affordable. The implementing regulations of the Bill require an annual security report with a description of the school's safety education program on the offices, the said policy, pertinent procedures, students' and employees' options and the mentioned sanctions to these offenses.

Jeanne's parents sued Lehigh University for its negligent failure of providing security and for its failure to warn students of foreseeable dangers on campus. In winning the case, Connie and Howard Clery became aware that the law did not tolerate willful indifference to the personal safety of college students (Clery). In 1988, Lehigh settled with the Clerys and agreed to enhance its security on campus. The Clerys then founded the first non-profit organization dedicated to preventing criminal violence in campuses and helping campus victims nationwide. A memorial plaque was placed outside Jeanne's Stoughton Hall dormitory.

For its first major activity, the Security On Campus, Inc. (Security On Campus) enacted laws to require colleges and universities nationwide to widely disseminate complete and updated information on certain crimes and security policies and procedures to their students - current and prospective - and employees. The couple and their supporters expressed satisfaction and appreciation towards the consequent enactment and signing of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, now called the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Act mandates all schools that receive federal funds to make and disseminate the annual reports on campus crime statistics.

The Security On Campus, Inc. (Security On Campus) devotes itself to creating and increasing crime awareness in preventing campus victimization, something which was already demonstrated as workable in the late 1980s by Chief Michael G. Shanahan of the University of Washington Police Department. His Department conducted a campus crime awareness program,…

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