Iowa college pays Education Department $15,000 in crime reporting settlement

The first school fined by the U.S. Department of Education for violating the federal Clery Act agreed to pay $15,000 in an October settlement with the department.

The DOE initially fined Mount St. Clare College $25,000 in March for failing to disclose 15 incidents in its crime statistics reports, failing to provide campus security reports to prospective students and failing to provide a complete statement of campus security policies between 1993 and 1999.

Previously, college officials claimed the fine was being unfairly imposed because the unreported incidents were due to a difference of interpretation of the Clery Act and because other schools in similar situations were not fined. School officials agreed to the settlement but continued to claim no wrongdoing.

Tom Myers, interim president, said the college is now in full compliance with the law and is ready to put the whole ordeal behind it.

“We are glad to have this issue behind us so we can move on and focus on the mission of the college, which is educating young men and women,” Myers said in a statement. “[The college] continues to strive to be a safe campus in a safe community in one of the safest states in the country.”

Daniel Carter, vice president for the national watchdog organization Security on Campus said the settlement is a big step toward cracking down on schools that violate the Clery Act.

“Progress is being made in the right direction,” Carter said. “In the coming congressional session, we hope to get everything resolved to where there is an adequate system in place so that schools will be complying with this law once and for all.”

SPLC View: For years, student media that reported campus crime reporting problems at their schools found that their complaints usually fell on deaf ears at the Department of Education. This case