Congress provides funding for clery act compliance handbook

Student journalists may gain access to more accurate campus crime information later this year after schools receive federal guidelines intended to provide detailed instruction for crime reporting.

Congress approved $750,000 for the Department of Education to develop a handbook, which will outline obligations under the Jeanne Clery Act, as a part of the appropriations package passed Feb. 13.

The Jeanne Clery Act requires all public and private post-secondary institutions that participate in federal student aid programs to report annual campus crime statistics to their students and the federal government. Schools also must make available daily campus police logs.

Daniel Carter, senior vice president of the advocacy group Security on Campus, said he hopes the handbook will increase the amount of accurate campus crime information that gets in student hands.

“Schools will know exactly what the law requires of them, and dishonest schools will no longer be able to claim they were confused when they are caught underreporting their campus crime,” Carter said.

The Department of Education will develop the handbook with input from Security on Campus and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. It will be published following the renewal of the Clery Act later this year.

SPLC View: While guidance to schools is sorely needed, we might refer the Department of Education to our Covering Campus Crimes handbook, which we hope has been guiding student news organizations on this issue for years.