Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 ("Act") after the bill cleared the Senate earlier in February. Given the Act will soon be signed into law, institutions of higher education should take note, if not already, of several significant amendments to the Jeanne Clery Act (Section 485(f) of the Higher Education Act of 1965; 20 USC 1092(f)) in the bill. See pages 36-39 of the House-passed legislation.
As a threshold matter, the changes impact the preparation of the annual security report that institutions of higher education must publish and distribute by October 1 of each year on crime statistics and campus security policies. Colleges and universities will be required to add to their reporting requirements "domestic violence, dating violence and stalking incidents that were reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies."
Institutions must also report whether a victim was "intentionally selected because of the actual or perceived . . . national origin [or] gender identity . . . of the victim." These two categories (national origin and gender identity) are in addition to the current categories of actual or perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability of the victim.
As a part of the annual security report, a school must include a much more expansive and prescriptive statement of policy, including among other things, the institution's programs to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as procedures the institution will follow (and standard of evidence used) during any institutional proceedings arising from a report of such incidents.
The changes to the Clery Act "shall take effect with respect to the annual security report . . . 1 calendar year after the date of enactment of this Act, and each subsequent calendar year." Assuming the President signs the law in March 2013, under one reading it appears the annual security report due by October 1, 2014 (covering calendar years 2011, 2012, 2013) must include the new data and policies. Alternatively, it could mean the security report due by October 1, 2015 for the calendar years 2012, 2013, 2014 must include the new data and policies, thus allowing adequate time for implementation. The Department of Education should issue guidance very soon after enactment to provide clarity.