ED Issues Guidance on Clery Act Changes
June 3, 2013
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) was signed into law on March 7. VAWA amended parts of the Clery Act to require colleges and universities to compile statistics for crimes including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. In addition, institutions are required to provide information about policies, procedures, and programs related to these crimes in their annual security reports.
ED has announced that it will address regulatory changes necessitated by VAWA as part of a negotiated rulemaking effort this fall. Once negotiations with stakeholders are complete, ED will issue proposed and final regulations on this topic. However, the rulemaking process is lengthy and, by statute, final rules under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (which includes Clery Act regulations) must be issued no later than November 1 in order to take effect the following July. This means that, as a practical matter, regulations will not be in force until July 2015.
In the interim, ED has issued preliminary guidance for institutions regarding these changes to the Clery Act. VAWA provides that the changes with respect to campuses' annual security reports are to take effect one year after the date of enactment, which would be March 7, 2014. Therefore, the first annual security report that must include the newly required information will be the one that campuses must publish by October 1, 2014. That report will need to include statistics from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 calendar years, as well as the required policies and procedures mandated by VAWA.
The guidance goes on to remind institutions that, in the absence of implementing regulations, they are expected to make a good faith effort to comply with statutory requirements and to exercise their best efforts to include statistics for the new crime categories for the calendar year 2013 in their October 2014 annual security report.
The National Association of College and University Attorneys hosted a webinar on VAWA on May 31 which was recorded and is available on demand for purchase.
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