University prepares for Clery Act review

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The U.S. Department of Education will launch a campus security program review into Penn State's compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act). The review was sparked by allegations of sex offenses on campus by former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The Department of Education notified the University in a letter sent on Nov. 9 that it would send representatives to the University Park campus beginning Monday, Nov. 28.

"We are making every effort to provide the review team with immediate access to all requested records and information sources pertaining to all aspects of Clery Act compliance," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said about the review. "The notification letter included a long list of information the committee needs, and we have been busy gathering as much of that information in advance of their visit as possible."

Under the Clery Act, colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs are required to keep and disclose information about criminal offenses on campus that are reported each year, something Penn State does online and through the "Policy, Safety and U" publication sent to all members of the Penn State community each fall. In addition, in certain cases, the institution must issue a timely warning if a reported crime represents a threat to the campus community. The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for Clery Act compliance and can impose civil penalties against institutions for each infraction and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs.

During their site visit, members of the review team will be interviewing those with responsibilities involving campus security, policing, judicial affairs, residence life, student affairs, athletics and Greek letter organizations, as well as all other offices with responsibilities relevant to the University's compliance with the Clery Act.

The federal law is named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered by another student in her campus residence hall in 1986. The Clery Act, signed in 1990, was originally known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act.

To view the Nov. 9 letter from the Department of Education outlining the particulars of the review, visit online.

Last Updated May 24, 2019