The New Clery Act Handbook: A To-Do List for Administrators


Campus security and student conduct personnel are most likely already aware that the Department of Education released an updated edition of The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting on June 23rd. However, with a full 265 pages of critical information, some administrators may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start in the process of reviewing the handbook.

Below are the four main goals you should keep in mind while reading the DOE’s updated requirements regarding Clery reporting.

1. Brush up on the basics of what you are required to do & when.

Beginning on page 5 of Chapter 1, the new handbook summarizes each requirement of the Clery Act, along with other campus security requirements, in a bullet-pointed list. It is certainly worth a few minutes to read this over carefully and ensure that your campus is complying with each of these requirements. If you’re confused about a specific requirement, the list will redirect you to the section of the handbook that explains it in more detail.

It is also important to re-familiarize yourself with the compliance timetable, which outlines the time period in which each required action should be taken. For instance, the timetable shows that you must update your regular crime log within two business days of a crime report being completed.

2. Clear up any confusion about the geographical scope of your reporting responsibilities.

As stated in the handbook, “You must disclose statistics for reported Clery Act crimes that occur (1) on campus, (2) on public property within or immediately adjacent to the campus, and (3) in or on noncampus buildings or property that your institution owns or controls.”

Chapter 2 will answer any question your team has ever had about whether you need to report incidents that occur in murkier locations or in unusual scenarios. It provides exact definitions for what constitutes your on-campus geography, and it clarifies any “legalese” that might otherwise be confusing. It also stipulates how you must conduct your reporting in unique situations, like if you share a campus with another institution or lease space on another institution’s campus. You will also find the definition of what counts as your institution’s public property and your non-campus buildings or property.

3. Make sure your team has a thorough understanding of correct crime classifications.

It can sometimes be hard to determine what a crime should officially be classified as, especially if more than one crime took place during the same incident. Accuracy in your reporting is required, though, and there is little room for making the wrong guess. Chapter 3 explains the definitions of all crimes you would be responsible for reporting (along with helpful examples), and it explains the importance of the Hierarchy Rule.

The Hierarchy Rule requires that when multiple crimes have been committed during one incident, the most serious crime is the one your team reports. The rule then clarifies what the hierarchy of crime is, with murder and non-negligent manslaughter at the top, going down to motor vehicle theft at the bottom. There are exceptions to the rule regarding arson and sexual assault, which are outlined on page 25 of Chapter 3.

4. Ensure that your campus security authorities have reliable methods of collecting and reporting crime data.

The Clery Act requires both that your campus security authorities keep a daily crime log that is made available to the public, and that they include all crime statistics in an annual report that is sent to the DOE.

In order to accurately keep track of crime data, your institution must have an organized and efficient tool for collecting and consolidating this information. Each campus security authority should have access to the same shared database to eliminate confusion and errors in reporting. If records are kept scattered in multiple locations, it’s almost inevitable that information will be lost due to the lack of cohesion between team members.

Advocate by Symplicity is one way of enabling your team members to reliably collect data and report it to the DOE in accordance with Clery Act requirements.

Higher Ed

What Our Clients Are Saying