UC Berkeley’s Clery Act fine part of new Ed Dept pattern, experts say

Education Dive

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
September 11, 2020
Dive Brief:
  • The University of California, Berkeley, will pay a nearly $2.4 million fine and be monitored for two years for violating the Clery Act, the federal law requiring colleges to share campus crime statistics.
  • UC Berkeley misclassified 1,125 incidents, most of which concerned liquor, drug and weapons violations, the U.S. Department of Education concluded after a six-year investigation. The institution misreported them as only campus policy violations, rather than those of the law, university officials wrote in a public statement.
  • The hefty fine follows a historic $4.5 million Clery penalty against Michigan State University last year, which some experts viewed as the department increasing its oversight of the law.
Dive Insight:
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, eponymously named for a female student who was raped and murdered in her dormitory in 1986, mandates colleges that receive federal funding report certain crimes on or near campus to the Education Department. They must also share these stats publicly and send out a timely warning to campus if they’re aware a crime has taken place.
The Education Department’s Clery probes can span years, as was the case with UC Berkeley. The agency reviewed five years’ worth of university documents, those from 2009 to 2016, amounting to more than 32,000 records, officials said.
The department also found problems with the university’s regular public crime log and said it did not properly issue its Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.