JEANNE CLERY ACT

Jeane Clery

Jeanne Clery was a 19-year-old freshman at Lehigh University who was brutally raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student on April 5, 1986.  Josoph M. Henry, a 20-year-old sophomore who lived off campus, entered her dorm room through three doors that had been propped open by boxes so students could come and go easily.  

Henry climbed the stairs and found the door to the second floor locked.  He made his way to the third floor, where the women lived in the co-ed dorm.  The first door he tried was Jeanne’s.  She had left it unlocked for her roommate, who had misplaced her key.  Jeanne woke up as Henry was in the process of burglarizing her room.  He tried to silence her by slashing her with a beer bottle.  He raped and sodomized her and then strangled her with the wire from a Slinky toy.  It was later revealed that Henry had been out all night drinking after losing a student election that day and was out looking to steal.  The crime was random.

Jeanne's parents, Connie and Howard Clery, were devastated by her death.  They were not aware of the dangers that lurked around the campus.  Her parents learned there had been thirty-eight violent crimes on the Lehigh Campus in the three years before Jeanne’s death.  This vital information was not provided to them which could have aided in their decision to send their daughter somewhere else.  In 1987, the Clery’s founded Security On Campus, Inc. and began lobbying state legislatures and Congress to require colleges to report campus crimes.  Their devotion paid off.  In 1990, Congress enacted the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act.  After amendments, it was renamed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, but it is widely referred to as the Clery Act.  The Jeanne Clery Act was enacted in the belief that crime awareness can prevent campus victimization.

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities across the U.S. participating in federal student aid to disclose information about campus crime statistics occurring on Clery geography along with their campus security and safety policies (20 USC§1092(f)).  The U.S. Department of Education monitors compliance and can impose civil penalties per violation.  Non-compliance with the Clery Act is a very costly concern for colleges and universities.  The cost is $59,017 for each infraction.  In addition to fines and punitive damages, institutions could lose financial aid funding causing significant damage to the institution’s reputation, deterring potential applicants, and impacting enrollment.  Each year, by October 1st, institutions must publish and distribute their Annual Security Report to current and prospective employees and students.  

This data is also submitted to the U.S. Department of Education - Campus Safety and Security. It contains the three most recent years of campus crime statistics and security policy statements.