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The Law & Education

Oct 27, 2020

Today we are doing something a little special and different! This episode is taken from our friends at the Higher Ground Podcast and features John Graff looking at the recent rescinding of the Clery Handbook by the Department of Education and the array of implications of this motion. John goes into loads of detail and gives a great overview of the decision, providing listeners with both forward and backward-facing context on the issue. This episode makes up part one of two on the subject, with part two to follow shortly. The Department's announcement constitutes a drastic shift in its own interpretation of the role the Clery Handbook and Department guidance should play in Clery compliance and enforcement. John breaks down the October 9 announcement, a 2014 Senate hearing addressing the Department's enforcement of its own guidance, the 2015 Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities, Report on the Task Force on Federal Regulation in Higher Education, and two recent media opinion pieces. All of this aids us in a better understanding of the Department's October 9 action and Clery compliance going forward. In part two, John will analyze the new replacement guidance in light of the material discussed in part one with an eye toward laying out what Clery compliance likely will look like during 2021. Tune in to get it all!


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Questions arising after the announcement about the rescinding of the Clery Handbook. 
  • A roadmap of this discussion and the way the information is organized across two episodes. 
  • The particulars and an explanation of the Clery announcement.
  • The Education Department's likely motivations for these adjustments.
  • Unpacking the findings from the task force report on federal regulation in higher education.
  • Looking at the specific Clery regulations mentioned in the task force report. 
  • The role of contractors in working with institutions. 
  • Some illuminating excerpts from the 2014 Senate hearing on Clery guidance. 
  • A better understanding of the Department of Education's process in dealing with cases. 
  • The complicated issue of the efficacy of timely warnings.  
  • Who should make expert judgments and the dangers of wasting resources on reports.
  • Where to from here and what to expect in part two of this series. 



“I would caution everyone out there to not make any sudden moves.” — @jtgraff [0:05:17]


“The task force report cites ten specific regulations of concern.” — @jtgraff [0:22:01]


“It takes time to work through 300 pages of guidance that impact every aspect of your compliance strategy.” — @jtgraff [0:23:50]


“Reporting errors are inevitable. The task force is acknowledging that schools are going to get it wrong through no fault of their own.” — @jtgraff [0:44:04]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

ICS Lawyer


John Graff on Twitter

Higher Ground Podcast

Hirsch Roberts Weinstein

HRW Higher Ground on Twitter

Joseph Storch

Department of Education Announcement Rescinding Clery Handbook (October 9 2020)

Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities, Report on the Task Force on Federal Regulation in Higher Education (2015)

June 26 2014 Senate Hearing on Campus Sexual Assaults 

Clery Act Does Little Improve Campus Safety Even During Pandemic — 'It's Time to Reform the Clery Act' 

'Opinion: Clery Act Wastes College and University Resources'

'The Clery Act and Overseas/Distance Study: New Developments and Compliance Guidance 2016'

Students Faculty Don't Always React Quickly Emergency Alerts — 'Should Stay or Should Go? Jake New (December 9 2014)'

Hot Topics In Title IX Compliance

Courtney Bullard on Twitter