What is the Clery Act?
The Federal Campus Safety and Security ("Clery") Act was passed by Congress in 1990 and has undergone a series of amendments most recently in 2013 under the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The Act requires colleges an universities receiving federal funding (financial aid) to publish crime and fire statistics, disclose safety policies, and provide notification to the community about incidents that pose a threat to members of our community.
Each Clery Act compliance violation or misrepresentation could result in $35,000 fines and the Department of Education could suspend any or all federal financial aid for the college. Additionally, audit reports are public record and can damage the college's reputation.
Important Note: This page was designed to help faculty and staff understand their responsibilities under the Clery Act only. This page does not cover Title IX responsibilities which may run concurrently or exist above and beyond those requirements. Please contact a Title IX Director or refer to resources they provide for information on those requirements.
What is a "Campus Security Authority"?
The Clery Act defines a Campus Security Authority as any employee:
- To whom crimes should be reported OR
- Who has "significant responsibility for student and campus activities.
Who is a Campus Security Authority?
Our Campus Security Authorities include:
- The Campus Police Department
- Dean of Students
- Student and Employee Disciplinary Authorities
- Director of Human Resources
- Director of Residential Life
- Director of Student Programs
- Title IX Coordinators
- Other staff advisors to student clubs and organizations
- Student residential life staff
- Faculty - but only when functioning in the role of advisor to a student club or organization
- Athletic coaches
- Students or employees who monitor building entrances and/or check ID's (such as at Kendall Hall)
- Study abroad program directors
- Coordinators of field study work
- Directors of music and theatre groups
- Professional and pastoral counselors are exempt from Clery Act responsibilities, but the college encourages such staff to report anonymous crime statistics to the Clery Coordinator
What are my responsibilities as a Campus Security Authority?
Campus Security Authorities are required to report crime statistics to Campus Police. Crimes reported to a Campus Security made "in good faith" need to be reported. "In good faith” means there is a reasonable basis for believing that the information is not simply rumor or hearsay. That is, there is little or no reason to doubt the validity of the information.
A crime can be reported by a victim, witness, third party, or even the offender.
- Get the facts - When, what, where, who, etc.
- Report all Clery Act related crimes immediately to the Campus Police Department so the campus can comply with timely warning policies and have accurate crime statistics for the annual security report
- Inform victims of their options, including confidential reporting options and offer referrals to resources (e.g., campus assistance programs or counseling service, if appropriate)
Any crime reported to a Campus Security Authority occurring on college property (or on non-campus college property) where there could be an ongoing threat to other community members (such as an armed robbery by an unknown suspect, a sexual assault by a stranger, etc.) must be reported as soon as possible to Campus Police by calling x1911 from a campus phone or (413) 538-2304 from a cell phone or off campus. Again, this can be reported anonymously if the victim or witness does not wish to have their name shared.
- Is a violent situation in progress?
- Is there imminent danger to the victim or others?
- Is it an emergency or crime in progress?
- Is medical treatment needed for serious injury?
If so, contact Campus Police immediately at x1-911 from a campus phone, or dial (413) 538-2304 from a cell phone.
When in doubt, report it.
When must I Report an Incident?
Under Clery, a crime is “reported” when it is brought to the attention of a Campus Security Authority by a victim, witness, other third party or even the offender.
- It does not matter whether or not the individuals involved in the crime, or reporting the crime, are associated with the institution.
- If a Campus Security Authority receives the crime information and believes it was provided in good faith, they should document it as a crime report.
- Timely reporting is critical.
- If the crime occurred on campus or on non-campus property, it must be reported.
- Non-campus property includes college property not contiguous to the main campus - i.e., the Outing Club cabin and the Community Boat House. See more information below.
Are there any times when I do not need to Report an Incident?
If the incident disclosed to you occurred before the student came to campus, during a non-college period (such as spring break, vacation, etc.), or during recreation time not organized by the college (visiting a party at another campus, dining at a restaurant off campus, etc.) you do not have to disclose the incident as a Clery incident.
However, Title IX requirements may be triggered. You should advise the appropriate Title IX Director.
What Crimes must be Reported?
The Clery Act requires the college to collect and report statistics on the following crimes.
See definitions here.
- Non-negligent manslaughter
- Forcible sex offenses
- Non-forcible sex offenses
- Aggravated assault
- Motor vehicle theft
- Domestic violence
- Dating violence
Additionally, we must report all crimes that are motivated by bias for the crimes above PLUS:
- Larceny (theft)
- Simple assault
- Damage/destruction/damage of property
Finally, the college must report any arrests or disciplinary referrals for:
- Weapons (possessing, carrying, etc.) law violations
- Drug abuse violations
- Liquor law violations
What is Considered a Disciplinary Referral?
A disciplinary referral is any documentation forwarded to an office or committee responsible for reviewing referrals to make a determination as to whether or not a disciplinary process will be initiated.
The official receiving the referral must initiate a disciplinary action,
A record of the action must be kept, and
The action may, but does not have to, result in a sanction.
How do we Report Crimes?
For an urgent issue, contact campus police at x1911 (campus phone) or (413) 538-2304. Even if a reporting party wishes to remain anonymous, there may be some crimes reported to a Campus Security Authority that would require the college to issue an alert or emergency message (when the crime indicates continuing threat to the community). Keep notes for your records for reconciliation at the end of the calendar year.
For non-urgent notifications, complete a Campus Security Incident Form within two business days and forward to Campus Police. Keep a copy for your records for reconciliation at the end of the calendar year.
How do I talk to a student or employee reporting a crime that I may have to share with the Clery Coordinator?
Students and employees do sometimes disclose criminal incidents to someone other than Campus Police. People defined as Campus Security Authorities may or may not feel comfortable talking about a criminal incident. Some suggestions include:
- Advise the person disclosing a crime to you that you are a federally-mandated crime reporter for the college.
- Clarify that while you want to be a resource for them, there may be some details you may not be able to maintain confidentially if they share details of a criminal incident with you (this is especially true if you are a responsible employee under Title IX and a sexual harassment/sex offense is reported to you).
- Be clear about what you can and cannot maintain confidentially - you may not have to report their name to Campus Police, but will have to disclose that an incident was reported to you and sufficient details about the incident so it can be categorized and determined if it is a Clery-reportable incident and whether or not a timely warning should be issued.
- Obtain as much of the where, when, and what of what occurred as possible.
- Encourage them to seek the resources of Campus Police, Health Services, Counseling Services, and other resources.
- Even if the person does not wish to report the incident to Campus Police, our dispatchers can obtain other resources for the victim or witness without obtaining their name if they wish to remain anonymous.
- Notify Campus Police, even if the person reporting the incident says they have or will be reporting the incident to us.
Study Abroad & Field Work Requirements
Please visit our Clery Compliance Study Abroad and Field Work page.
There are other areas that are considered non-campus property (property or buildings owned or controlled by the college that are not within the contiguous borders of the college. They include, but are not limited to:
- Community Boat House
- Outing Club Cabin
- Orchards Golf Course (when used for academic purposes)
- Mary Lyon's Birthplace, Buckland MA
Examples of Clery Situations
You are a coach. A student on your team mentions a number of rooms in which the team was staying for January Term were broken into overnight and items were stolen from various room. You are acting in your role as a Campus Security Authority and need to bring the burglaries to the attention of Campus Police. If the student does not wish to report to the department, you should report via phone as soon as possible, or via the Campus Security Authority Incident Form within two business days.
You are the advisor to the Outing Club. A student in the club asks if they can talk to you. That student tells you they were sexually assaulted last weekend along a roadway on campus. The student didn't see the person coming and they pulled the student into the bushes. You are acting in your role as a Campus Security Authority and need to bring the sexual assault to the attention of Campus Police. Because this incident poses a threat to the safety of other students and employees on campus, you should contact Campus Police as soon as you know enough information so Campus Police can issue a timely notification.
You are on the faculty. After class, you ask a student to come see you because the student is behind on a number of assignments. While talking to the student, the student discloses that two weeks ago they were sexually assaulted in their dorm room and that has made it hard to do any of their work. In this situation, you are not acting in a role with "significant authority for student activities," and you are not required to report this situation for Clery purposes. HOWEVER:
- You likely have TItle IX responsibilities. Please refer to those procedures for more information.
- If the assault was a random incident that poses a threat to others in the community, we encourage you to share what details you can so we can make a determination as to whether or not a community notification should be issued.
- You should encourage the student to report the incident to Campus Police (if they are willing) and to the Title IX Coordinator. Both authorities can assist students in obtaining additional resources to help them cope with the incident. Students reporting incidents to Campus Police DO NOT have to press charges.
- Encourage the student to take advantage of on-campus and off-campus resources. Campus Police can provide some contact information even if the student does not wish to make a report to our office.