As the year inches toward October 1, when federally funded colleges and universities will release their annual security reports about campus crime statistics and policy statements, the schools have plenty of data to gather and questions to answer to provide a comprehensive understanding about their various policies.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has emphasized the Department of Education’s intention to double down on enforcement of the Clery Act. The hands-on approach seems to strike a different tone in comparison to the administration’s high-profile rollback of federal guidance on other education-related laws. Last fall, DeVos announced the revocation of an Obama-era Dear Colleague letter providing guidance for Title IX investigations. And most recently, the administration announced the rollback of guidance urging schools to consider race as a factor in admissions in order to increase campus diversity.
Despite the seeming contrast, the administration’s position on the Clery Act has actually been a continuation of compliance actions with the law that the George W. Bush and Obama administrations spearheaded, which have notably included significantly increased fines for Clery Act violations. And even with the #MeToo movement putting pressure on how allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and assault are investigated, increased scrutiny on holding schools accountable seems to predate the 2017 cultural shift.