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Clery Act Fines Increase Per Violation

Clery Act fines have more than doubled from their original amount, to $54,789 per violation, following the latest announcement by the Department of Education in April.

The fines apply to violations that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015 that were assessed after April 20, 2017.

The penalty increase follows a review by the Dept. of Ed. to ensure the fines “maintain their deterrent value” and adjust for inflation, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990. The Dept. of Ed.’s Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, enforces the Clery Act.

Clery Act fines were originally $25,000 per violation but have increased periodically from $27,500 to $35,000 and then $53,907, according to Campus Security Consultant S. Daniel Carter.

The last increase before the April announcement was through an interim final rule (IFR) that listed an initial “catch up” adjustment on Aug. 1, 2016. The Dept. of Ed. noted in its latest fine adjustment statement that it received no public comments on that IFR.

Campus Safety regularly reports on fines in response to Clery Act violations. The largest ever Clery Act fine of $2.4 million was given to Penn State University last year in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Penn State did not appeal that fine.

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report crime statistics and mandates certain actions be taken by campus officials during emergencies and in cases of alleged sexual violence.

The controversial law has forced institutions of higher education to channel resources into meeting its requirements. At the 2015 Campus Safety Conference, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said she supported completely repealing the Clery Act, a sentiment since echoed by other lawmakers.

About the Author

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Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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