U.S. Department of Education Imposes $275,000 Fine for Clery Act Violations

U.S. Department of Education Imposes $275,000 Fine for Clery Act Violations

by Olabisi L. Okubadejo

The U.S. Department of Education recently informed Lincoln University, located in Jefferson City, Missouri, that it intends to fine the university $275,000 because it did not comply with the requirements of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act).

Following a program review, the Department found a number of violations. They included a failure to provide two sexual assault victims with the outcome of campus disciplinary board investigations and a failure to include in its Annual Security Report (ASR) a statement of possible sanctions in disciplinary actions involving sex offenses. Although the university has since taken steps to address some of these concerns, the Department nonetheless assessed fines for the failure to timely comply with the Clery Act.

Two California universities also recently indicated that they had underreported campus sex crimes in violation of the Clery Act. These incidents of non-compliance could result in fines of up to $35,000 per violation for the universities.

The Clery Act requires that educational institutions prepare, publish, and distribute an ASR that reports statistics for certain crimes on campus, in or on certain noncampus buildings or property, and on public property. The ASR also must describe certain campus security policies, including those related to campus sexual assault programs and services available for victims of sexual offenses.

Clery Act requirements often intersect with obligations under Title IX. Colleges and universities are advised to review carefully their obligations under the Clery Act and Title IX to ensure compliance with these laws.

Attorneys in Ballard Spahr’s Higher Education Group regularly advise on compliance with the various regulations governing campus safety and sexual misconduct, including the Clery Act and Title IX. For more information on the Lincoln University fine or Clery Act compliance, please contact Olabisi L. Okubadejo at 410.528.5532 or okubadejoo@ballardspahr.com.


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