The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), previously the Higher Education Act of 1965, is a consumer protection law passed in 1990. It was named after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old college student at Lehigh University who was raped and murdered in her college dormitory in 1986. Jeanne’s parents, Connie and Howard Clery lobbied for revolutionary policy changes following her death. They also worked with allies and advocates to form a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, The Clery Center, that would seek to prevent the kind of violence that had taken Jeanne from them.
The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities who participate in Higher Education Act’s Title IV student financial assistance programs to disclose information about campus crime statistics and security information. In 2013, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) includes amendments to the Clery Act. Changes require institutions to disclose statistics, policies, and programs related to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The law requires institutions to inform the public of crime in or around campus. This information is publically accessible through the institution’s annual security report.
College and universities must outline specific policies and procedures within their annual security reports, including those related to disseminating timely warning, emergency notification, options for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and campus crime reporting processes. Crime statistics shared within the annual security report reflect the number of Clery defined crimes reported to have occurred within Clery defined geographic categories of an institution.