National Center for Campus Public Safety

Institutionalizing the Clery Act at Institutions of Higher Education

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On January 12, 2016, nineteen public safety and compliance executives from eight institutions of higher education (IHEs) and nine professional associations, with support from the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS) and the Clery Center for Security On Campus, gathered at the National Center for Higher Education in Washington, D.C. for a one-day focus group. Their goal? To help IHEs develop their cultures to manage compliance with the Clery Act from an institution-wide team approach, rather than something sequestered to a few compliance professionals at each IHE. The primary task was to determine what kinds of communications could make that growth occur.

Under the Clery Act, all colleges and universities receiving federal funding must share information about crime on and around campus and their efforts to improve campus safety. They must also provide support for certain crime victims and disclose certain crime-related policies and procedures. However, the complexity of the legislation, resource limitations, and changes in the Act have created considerable compliance challenges for many IHEs.

The focus group convened in response to the NCCPS’s effort to be a nationwide resource for addressing critical issues in campus safety. The focus group addressed three objectives IHEs and professional associations have with regard to institutionalizing Clery compliance: identify what messages IHEs and professional associations should send about the topic, determine how those messages should be distributed, and decide how to execute on those determinations. The focus group also discussed topics related to personnel management, training, and funding related to expanding the scope of Clery compliance at IHEs. The discussion did not evaluate specific compliance efforts or policies at specific institutions.

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