Are You Prepared to Pay the Price for Clery, Title IX Non-Compliance?

Get trained now so your campus will appropriately address sexual misconduct. Doing so will ensure you properly support victims, as well as limit your institution’s exposure to fines and lawsuits.

Dartmouth, the University of Southern California (USC), the University of North Carolina (UNC), Cedarville University, Swarthmore College, UC Berkeley, Occidental College… The list could go on and on of colleges that are under fire for their handling of alleged sexual misconduct. Despite the recent spate of complaints and investigations, however, many schools still have significant gaps in how they manage Clery and Title IX (for full coverage of this, read Lack of Training, Policies Prevent Clery, Title IX Compliance).

Although I don’t know if any of the aforementioned institutions of higher education are guilty of any violations — that will be determined by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice’s investigations — I am surprised at the level of non-compliance that I’ve been told still exists among U.S. colleges and universities. This is particularly troubling considering campus security experts have been imploring institutions of higher education to comply with Clery and Title IX for years.

The consequences institutions of higher education could face if they don’t comply are significant and potentially catastrophic.

Last year, the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM) estimated that the average award from sexual assault cases that go to a jury is about $200,000. Considering the increased frequency of complaints and investigations we’ve been experiencing recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if that amount has increased in the past year.

Let’s also not forget the other costs associated with a mishandled sexual assault investigation, as well as Clery and Title IX non-compliance. We only need to look to Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal to estimate the potential financial damages. As of January, the university incurred a $60 million NCAA fine, nearly $26 million in legal fees and crisis consulting costs, as well as $13 million in future bowl revenue lost and other expenses. In July, the school settled with some of Sandusky’s victims for about $60 million.

The damage to the institution’s reputation, including lost revenue from students who choose to go elsewhere in reaction to the scandal, really can’t be tabulated. Additionally, three former Penn State executives, who lost their jobs as a result of the scandal, are now headed to trial for allegedly covering up Sandusky’s crimes.

We also must remember the psychological damages incurred by future victims at institutions that don’t step up their compliance efforts. These victims will be scarred, not only as a result of the initial sexual assault, but also because of the betrayal they experience when their claims are mishandled or, worse, not believed. Who can put a price tag on that?

For institutions of higher education that are only paying lip service to the Clery Act and Title IX, now is the time for you to start taking these laws seriously. There is a lot of training out there, including cost-effective online courses that will be provided by the Clery Center for Security on Campus beginning next month.

Doing nothing and hoping you’ll fly under the radar is no longer an option.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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