Distribution of Your Institution’s Annual Security Report under the Clery Act


By Randy Geller, Shareholder

 

Every year, colleges and universities put a great deal of effort into producing their Annual Security Report (“ASR”). But institutions often do not consider how and to whom the ASR must be distributed. That is the purpose of this advisory.

When Must the ASR be Distributed?

By October 1st of each year.

To Whom Must the ASR be Distributed?

  • To all enrolled students and all current employees. This includes enrolled students who are currently taking courses at another school or who are not taking courses but are completing thesis or dissertation work.
  • To prospective students upon request — Prospective student means an individual who has contacted an eligible institution requesting information concerning admission to that institution.
  • To prospective employees upon request— Prospective employee means an individual who has contacted an eligible institution for the purpose of requesting information concerning employment with that institution.
  • To the U.S. Department of Education — The website for the Annual Safety Report is opened in mid-August. The website is typically locked in early October.

    How Must the ASR be Distributed?

    The ASR must be distributed to all enrolled students and current employees in one of two ways:

    • Directly by publications and mailings including direct mailing through the U.S. Postal Service, campus mail, or electronic mail; OR
    • By posting the ASR on an Internet or Intranet website that is reasonably accessible to enrolled students and current employees.

    What if we use Internet or Intranet Publication?

    If an institution elects to publish its ASR for enrolled students and current employees via the Internet or Intranet, the institution must provide a notice sent by U.S. Postal service, campus mail, or electronic mail to each student and employee that includes the following:

    • A statement of the report’s availability;
    • A brief description of the contents;
    • The exact electronic address (URL) of the website where the report is posted (a direct link should be provided if notice is sent by email); and
    • A statement that the institution will provide a paper copy upon request.

    How Must the ASR be Distributed to Online Students, Part-time Students, and those not enrolled in Title IV Courses or Programs?

    Online students, part-time students, and those not enrolled in Title IV courses or programs should be treated the same as currently enrolled students.

    What about Prospective Students and Employees?

    The ASR must be made available to prospective students and prospective employees. This should be done by providing them with a notice containing a statement of the report’s availability, a description of its contents, and the opportunity to request a copy. This notice may be provided to prospective students and prospective employees along with other information provided to them.

    If the institution chooses to provide the ASR to prospective students and prospective employees by posting the report on an Internet site, the notice provided to each individual must include:

    • the exact URL for where the report is posted (a direct link is preferable);
    • a brief description of the report; and
    • a statement that the institution will provide a paper copy of the report upon request.

    What about Students who Enroll Mid-Year or Spring Term?

    There is no obligation to recirculate the ASR to current students and staff other than by the October 1 deadline, but institutions must make the report available on demand all year long (and may not require a reason for requesting a copy).

    What about the Annual Fire Safety Report?

    If your institution has any on-campus student housing facilities, it must also publish an annual fire safety report. The ASR and the annual fire safety report may be published together as long as the title of the document clearly states that it contains both. If the two reports are published separately, each report must include information about how to directly access the other. Stating that the other report is available is inadequate. Our recommendation is to publish the two reports together and distribute them as required for the ASR.

    Since 1995, I have helped clients address a wide variety of challenging issues at the intersection of education, institutional management, public policy, and the law. With years of experience at two major universities and in private practice, I offer not only legal advice, but also practical advice to help clients manage problems and implement effective solutions. I would be pleased to assist your school with any and all issues related to Clery Act compliance.


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