Kuster, Stauber Introduce Legislation to Protect Students and Hold Institutions Accountable
Washington, DC –Reps. Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Pete Stauber (MN-08) introduced the Clery Compliance Officer Designation Act of 2020, legislation directing schools to designate specific staff to ensure the accurate and timely reporting of sexual violence and other crimes on college and university campuses.
“Students and their families in the Granite State and across the country deserve accurate, timely information about campus safety as they make decisions about where to attend school, and while they are enrolled,” said Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “The Clery Act continues to play a critical role in informing and protecting students against sexual violence and other crimes that can occur on campuses. The Clery Compliance Officer Designation Act will strengthen this landmark legislation by ensuring institutions have designated specific staff to carry out this critical work."
“For decades, the Clery Act has played a critical role in protecting students from sexual violence by requiring colleges and universities across the country to disclose campus crime statistics,” said Rep. Stauber. “The Clery Compliance Officer Designation Act of 2020 builds on this vital effort by ensuring that this information is released in a timely manner, so students and their families can make more informed decisions about where to enroll in school. As a father and former law enforcement officer, safety on college campuses remains a top priority of mine and I am proud to work with Congresswoman Kuster on this critical issue.”
“Designating a Clery Compliance Officer is a necessary precursor to demonstrating an institution’s administrative capability to comply with the Clery Act,” said Dolores Stafford, Executive Director of the National Association of Clery Compliance Officers and Professionals (NACCOP). “We applaud Congresswoman Kuster and Congressman Stauber for introducing this important legislation.”
In 1986, college student Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in her dormitory by a fellow student. As there were no standards for reporting and informing students about campus crimes at the time, Jeanne and her family did not know about the existing safety concerns present at the school she chose to attend. Congress responded to this tragedy by passing the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics (Clery) Act in 1990. For three decades, this landmark law has required colleges and universities to publish an annual security report, disclose crimes statistics for incidents that occur on campus or adjacent to campus, issue timely warnings to students about potential threats, and devise emergency response and notification systems.
The Clery Compliance Officer Designation Act will provide an important update to the law by requiring institutions of higher education to designate a specific person or group of people to compile and report Clery Act crimes in an accurate and timely manner. While this is an incredibly important and sometimes lifesaving responsibility, it can also be highly technical work. It is imperative that institutions maintain strong administrative capabilities and clarify staff roles to ensure Clery Act reporting is done correctly and efficiently.
The Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, of which Rep. Kuster is a co-chair and Rep. Stauber is a member, works to raise awareness and propose solutions to the challenges posed by sexual assault and violence. The Task Force’s areas of focus include: K-12 education, campus sexual violence, the rape kit backlog, military sexual trauma, improved data and collection, online harassment, and law enforcement training. Congresswoman Kuster has long been a champion for survivors of sexual violence, sharing her own personal experiences involving sexual assault on the House floor and joining with 17 other Members of Congress to read Emily Doe’s open letter describing her attack and ensuing trial – which marked the first time a victim’s statement has been read in full in the House chambers.
You can access the full legislative text here.