Advocating for Policies that Prioritize the Safety of College Students

Advocating for Policies that Prioritize the Safety of College Students

Never has the passing from one year to another held so much expectation. While in many ways 2021 still looks very much like 2020, we are moving forward in reflection of what we have learned and with hope for what is ahead.

Last week we saw a change in administration, with President Joseph R. Biden and Vice-President Kamala D. Harris taking office. President Biden has a record of supporting legislation aimed at protecting women and vulnerable communities against violence, most notably through his sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that passed in 1994, four years after the Clery Act was signed into law by George H.W. Bush. President Biden also played a key role in VAWA’s reauthorization in 2013, which resulted in amendments to the Clery Act that expanded rights to campus survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Both laws have a long history of bipartisan support, a legacy we hope to see continued as the impact of interpersonal violence is more magnified than ever amidst the global pandemic.

Our founders, Connie Clery and her late husband Howard Clery, had the opportunity to meet then-Senator Biden on several occasions during their time advocating for legislation to protect college students. Last month, Mrs. Clery sent a personal letter to President Biden congratulating him and Vice-President Harris on their win, and urging them to prioritize the safety of college students across the country. As noted in her letter, we are confident that the leaders appointed to the Department of Education will share our commitment to improving prevention and response efforts relevant to victims of violence and abuse on college campuses. We look forward to forging relationships with the Biden-Harris administrative to accomplish our collective goals.

In this new year we will continue the work we have long been committed to: sharing our expertise on important campus safety legislation and educating elected officials about related issues that need to be addressed.

We remain focused on:

  • Advocating for updated sub-regulatory guidance for schools on the application of the Clery Act to address the gap left with the sudden late-2020 rescission of the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, a long relied-upon resource.
  • Collaborating with allied professional organizations to undo the 2020 Title IX regulations that have created unnecessary conflicts between the implementation of the Clery Act and Title IX.
  • Supporting the passage of the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act, which will include hazing incidents under the Clery Act, and create a universal definition of hazing that will help us better understand and track hazing as a national problem.

We look forward to providing updates on these issues as they come.