A tragedy led to a federal law designed to ensure that the public–and especially prospective students–have access to information that might shed light on the safety of the colleges and universities they are thinking of attending.

Here’s information on that law and how it came to be enacted, provided by Security On Campus Inc. (SOC), a nonprofit organization founded by the parents of a university crime victim:

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is the landmark federal law, originally known as the Campus Security Act, that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.

Because the law is tied to participation in federal student financial aid programs, it applies to most institutions of higher education, both public and private. It is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education.

The “Clery Act” is named in memory of 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman Jeanne Ann Clery, who was raped and murdered while asleep in her residence hall room on April 5, 1986.

Jeanne’s parents, Connie and Howard, discovered that students hadn’t been told about 38 violent crimes on the Lehigh campus in the three years before her murder. They joined with other campus crime victims and persuaded Congress to enact this law, which was originally known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990.

The law was amended in 1992 to add a requirement that schools afford the victims of campus sexual assault certain basic rights, and it was amended again in 1998 to expand the reporting requirements. The 1998 amendments also formally named the law in memory of Jeanne Clery.

The law was most recently amended in 2000 to require schools, beginning in 2003, to notify the campus community about where public “Megan’s Law” information about registered sex offenders on campus could be obtained.

Clery Act Compliance Information

Handbook for Campus Crime Reporting (PDF)
This handbook was developed by the U.S. Department of Education to present step-by-step procedures, examples, and references for higher-education institutions to follow in meeting the Clery Act requirements.

Summary Of The Jeanne Clery Act
Provides an easy-to-understand “plain language” summary of the Jeanne Clery Act’s requirements.

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

Clery Act-Statute Text (20 USC § 1092(f))
Clery Act text as amended through 2000 (PDF format)
Original Campus Security Act text (1990; Public Law 101-542, Title II)

Clery Act-Implementing Regulations
Issued by the U.S. Department of Education, the implementing regulations, which carry the force of law, instruct institutions how to comply with the Jeanne Clery Act.
34 CFR § 668.46 (current Clery Act regulations, effective July 1, 2003; available in format)
Crime Definitions in Accordance With the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program
(general information disclosure regulations which also apply to the Clery Act)
October 31, 2002 Federal Register-Final Rule (sex offender disclosure requirement in institutions’ annual security reports; disciplinary referral technical correction)
November 1, 1999 Federal Register-Final Rule (explains the Clery Act regulations in plain language)
August 10, 1999 Federal Register-Proposed Rule (draft version of the Clery Act regulations)
April 24, 1994 Federal Register-Final Rule (original Campus Security Act regulations)

Clery Act Crime Definitions
These definitions are to be used when compiling campus crime statistics under the Clery Act.

UCR Handbook (15 MB PDF Document)
When not in conflict with the Clery Act, the standards of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program are to be used.

Additional Links:

SOC on the Clery Act

About SOC