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U.S. Department of Education Publishes Long-Awaited Proposed Regs for 2013 Clery Act Amendments

Jun 20, 2014

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The U.S. Department of Education today published proposed regulations to implement changes made last year to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act, as part of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013.

The 42-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking appears in today’s Federal Register. Interested members of the public – among them colleges and universities, for which Clery Act compliance procedures will be significantly affected by the 2013 amendments – have until July 21, 2014 to submit written comments concerning the proposed rules to the Department. The Notice, accompanied by a synopsis and the text of the proposed regulations, can be reviewed at and downloaded from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-20/pdf/2014-14384.pdf.

Under the 2013 amendments and proposed regs, colleges would be required to compile statistics for incidents of dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, in addition to statistics currently required for sexual assaults and certain other crimes. The DOE says that the intent of the expanded data collection and reporting mandates is to provide a clearer picture of the extent to which these crimes occur on college campuses, and to equip post-secondary institutions, advocates, and policymakers to better deal with the public health and safety issues they present.

As highlighted in the Department’s press release announcing the rulemaking, other notable changes include:

  • Adding gender identity and national origin as categories of bias under the Clery Act’s definition of hate crimes;
  • Adopting the FBI’s revised, more inclusive definition of rape;
  • Requiring college disciplinary proceedings relating to alleged incidents of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to be “prompt, fair, and impartial”;
  • Strengthening protections for victim confidentiality and requiring colleges to help victims to access the support, services, and the disciplinary and legal options available to them; and
  • Specifying requirements for programs which colleges must provide to address dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including prevention and awareness programs and campaigns.

After considering public comments submitted by the July 21 deadline, the DOE will publish final regulations by November 1. Because the Clery Act amendments became effective on March 1, 2014, before final regs will issue, the Department has said that colleges and universities should use their “best efforts” in complying with the Act’s additional mandates during the current year.

Heidi A. Katz of the firm’s Chicago office prepared this Law Alert