Purpose of the Clery Act

College campuses are often places of joy, communion, and learning. Students enroll in college to share ideas and good times, but there can be danger, too. Because of a federal law called The Clery Act, students and their families can find out about reported crimes on the campuses where they choose to attend classes. The Act is named for murdered college student Jeanne Clery. Thirty years ago Clery was raped and killed in her college dormitory at Lehigh University of Pennsylvania. Most current college students weren’t even alive then, but today, she is still a symbol and a martyr for those who may still be in danger on college campuses.

The Clery Act requires colleges to disclose all crime that has been reported on or near campus. After Clery was murdered, her parents felt that colleges were not giving students and their families information about crime on campus.  They campaigned to have a law created to force colleges to release crime statistics to the public. The Clery Act, which was signed into law in 1990, does exactly this.

Since the Clery Act, colleges have been required to give yearly reports of all crime in the area. Colleges release this document in the form of a “Safety and Security” report. These reports give students some idea of the dangers they may or may not face on campus. With the information readily available, students can make a more informed decision on the college of their choice.


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