Friday, June 20, 2014

Clery Act expansion

Yesterday the Department of Education announced a new rule to the Clery Act. It includes the addition of national origin and gender identity to the definition of a hate crime. It adopts the FBI's definition of rape, which is often broader than that found in state law and does not consider gender as part of the definition.
Another change, one that should hopefully quiet the recent backlash centered around alleged violations of the rights of the accused, is a provision that allows both the accuser and accused to pick an adviser of his/her choice to attend campus hearings. The institution can still dictate how that adviser may be used and involved, but this means that theoretically both parties could have a lawyer present.
Ensuring greater confidentiality for victims who may be seeking help but do not want to go through campus or legal proceedings is also part of the new rule.
And finally, the new rule calls for broader reporting of campus violence. Stalking, domestic violence, and date-related assault. These were proposed as part of the government's commitment to making schools more accountable for campus climate and for greater transparency.

The new rule was published today in the Federal Register and public comments will be accepted until July 21.