Twenty-seven years of the Clery Act

The Clery Act was signed into Law 17 years ago today.

ASHLEY HIGGINBOTHAM | Reporter

UPDATED NOV. 10, 2017 — Today marks the 27th anniversary since the Clery Act was signed into law.

That federal law is part of the reason why all Lindenwood students and staff receive “timely warning’ emails when a crime occurs. 

The law requires all colleges and universities receiving federal funds to disclose their crime and fire statistics, and Lindenwood is no exception.

Paula Stewart is Lindenwood’s clery compliance officer.
 
She said the Clery Act was named after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old college student who was assaulted and murdered in her dorm room at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. She left her door unlocked as she went to bed because her roommate was going out, and a man entered the building because a side door was propped open. 

“The policies are what I think is the bulk of the report, and [they’re] as of much importance as the crime statistics, if not more.”

Paula Stewart

He was burglarizing dorm rooms when he arrived at Clery’s.

“Upon her waking up, he sexually assaulted and murdered her,” Stewart said.

Stewart also said Clery originally wanted to attend a university in New Orleans, but her parents told her no because it was too dangerous of a school.

“Her parents found out after the fact that before her going, there were 38 violent crimes in the previous year,” Stewart said. “But there was nothing requiring transparency.”

Stewart ensures that Lindenwood is in compliance with the Clery Act, and that means making Lindenwood’s Clery Report available to the public by Oct. 1 of each year.

The report has been amended 13 times over the years, with the most recent change including the Violence Against Women Acts in 2013. Within the report, there are over 110 policy statements that Stewart has to make sure are up to date.

“The policies are what I think is the bulk of the report, and [they’re] as of much importance as the crime statistics, if not more,” Stewart said.

The crime definitions used in university reports follow the definitions used by the Uniform Crime Report, the statistics that the FBI creates and follows. This is to ensure that all definitions are the same throughout every campus.

“Anyone can look and see what the policies are if a student wants to transfer,” Stewart said.

The law is in a way held to the memory of Jeanne Clery.

“Maybe if some of these things were in place when she went to school, maybe this would not have happened to her,” Stewart said.

Lindenwood’s most recent Clery Report can be viewed on here on Lindenwood’s website

Editors Note

Seventeen years was revised to 27 years in the beginning of the story. The Clery report was enacted 27 years ago in 1990, not 17 years ago. 

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