Choosing a post-secondary institution is a major decision for students and their families. Along with academic, financial, and geographic considerations, the issue of campus safety is a vital concern. The law requires colleges and universities receiving federal funding to prepare, publish, and distribute, by October 1 of each year, campus safety and security policies and crime statistics for the preceding calendar year. Baylor University publishes the Annual Fire Safety and Security Report and makes it available upon request and is located on-line. The Department of Education is responsible for Clery Act compliance and enforcement.
In 1990, Congress enacted the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 (Title II of Public Law 101-542), which amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). This act required all postsecondary institutions participating in HEA’s Title IV student financial assistance programs to disclose campus crime statistics and security information. The act was amended in 1992,1998,2000, and 2013. The 1998 amendments renamed the law the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act in memory of a student who was slain in her dorm room in 1986 at Lehigh University. It is generally referred to as the Clery Act.
On August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act or HEOA (Public Law 110-315) reauthorized and expanded the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. HEOA amended the Clery Act and created additional safety and security-related requirements for institutions. Specifically, it added:
- New categories to the list of hate crimes all institutions must disclose (Clery amendment)
- A new disclosure regarding the relationship of campus security personnel with state and local law enforcement agencies (Clery amendment)
- Implementation and disclosure of emergency notification and evacuation procedures for all institutions (Clery amendment)
- Implementation and disclosure of missing student notification procedures for institutions with on-campus student housing facilities (HEOA)
- Fire safety reporting requirements for institutions with on-campus student housing facilities (HEOA)
- Text clarifying the definition of an on-campus student housing facility (Clery and HEOA)
- A Program Participation Agreement (PPA) requirement concerning disclosure of the results of disciplinary proceedings to the alleged victim of any crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense (HEOA).
On March 7, 2013, the SaVE Act amended the Federal Jeanne Clery Act to include three additional crimes that are required to be reported. The additional crimes are domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.