Campus Safety Awareness Month: What we learned from the Clery Act

Written by: María Cristina Pacheco-Alcalá, Project Manager, Esperanza United

September is Campus Safety Awareness Month and as such, we invite you to be a part of public conversation on issues related to violence prevention in colleges and universities.

On 1986, Jeanne Clery, who was 19 years old, was raped and murdered in her college dormitory. Her parents were unaware of the dangers she was in while on campus, as standards for campus crime reporting where not in place. The loss of a bright young woman was what gave advocates the drive to lobby and put in place policy changes that currently take the form of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, often just referred to at The Clery Act.

The Clery Act requires college and university campuses that participate in federal financial aid programs to understand their responsibilities and participate in ongoing efforts to actively foster campus safety. So that raises the question: What campus safety efforts should be implemented to keep communities safe?

Each educational institution submits Clery crime statistics to the U.S. Department of Education using an online web survey in addition to publishing Annual Security Report to their own website. The report should include statistics, definitions and policies on campus crimes to inform students, parents, and the community about campus safety and their responsibilities.

Current policies require campuses to put together a collaborative approach to address crimes on campus that includes:

  • Who designated campus security authorities are, Clery locations applicable to the campus, what to report, and how to collect crime reports and statistics

  • Ongoing disclosures to campus community containing timely warnings, emergency notifications, daily crime logs, and fire logs

  • Prevention efforts, including principles of prevention; crime prevention programs; security awareness programs; substance abuse awareness programs; and sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking programs

  • Response protocol on campus requirements for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, the Clery Act and Title IX compliance, and developing collaborative partnerships to enhance response

Each of the above requirements are comprehensive and their main goal is to ensure campus safety by having clear policies known to all the campus community regarding specific rights, options and resources guaranteed by the Clery Act.

In terms of education, institutions are required to provide students and employees with information on an ongoing basis, as well as prevention and awareness programs information on the crimes covered by the Clery Act. The preventative programs need to include bystander intervention and risk reductions information aimed at recognizing the warning signs of the Clery Act crimes. Therefore, it’s important to partner with experts and community partners who can expand campus services and provide in-depth training on specific crimes, including how to provide this information with a trauma-informed and culturally responsive approach.

Esperanza United is a national technical assistance provider for minority serving institutions who are grantees of the United States Department of Justice. For information and resources on this topic, you may contact us at