DOE publishes final Clery Act rules

Mostly consistent with those proposed in June

The U.S. Department of Education on Monday published the final rules regarding changes to the Clery Act, emphasizing responses to sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence.

Effective July 1, 2015, the act will require higher education institutions to disclose the number of reported crimes that were determined to be unfounded. The rules also require schools to retroactively review and submit statistics for the past three years. Until then, DOE officials encourage schools to follow the changes with "a good faith effort." Institutions that do not follow the changes by July may lose federal financial aid access.

How to establish anonymous sexual assault reporting

According to the most recent rules, schools must now:

  • Describe disciplinary proceedings used for each case;
  • Explain why that type of proceeding was used;
  • Include relevant policy and procedure statements in their annual security reports; and
  • Record stalking incidents based on where the perpetrator began, or where the victim became aware of it.

"When we talk about sexual and gender-based violence on campus, we're not often talking about the bogeyman jumping out of the bushes on the college green so this is a much more realistic way to look at these crimes," says Lisa Maatz, VP of government relations at the American Association of University Women.

Victim advocate services on campus

The new rules do not vary much from those DOE officials proposed in June. As announced at that time, DOE added gender identity and national origin bias to the hate crime definition, increased victim confidentiality protections, and mandated both accuser and accused be allowed to have an adviser (such as an attorney) present during disciplinary proceedings.

"Schools would limit who could be brought in," says Laura Dunn, a sexual assault survivor who participated in the DOE's 15-member rulemaking panel. "But in reality there would often be an attorney in the wings helping the accused."

Changes to the Clery Act resulted from the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The panel agreed on the new rules in April and have changed them little since then (New, Inside Higher Ed, 10/20).

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