An Introduction to Title IX and the Clery Act in Higher Education What Every Parent Should Know

Hello, Everyone!

I truly hope you enjoyed the poetry by Mr. Dan Skognes. We all know that letting go is not as easy as it sounds but it is a critical element to having and living an abundant life. Dan thank you for your contribution to And He Restoreth My Soul Project!

A new resource:

Leslie Vernick an experienced counselor, coach, and author of the books, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, and The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. See resources for her link.

Deborah Howard:

Deborah Howard first came to And He Restoreth My Soul Project as one of the contributors to the Preventing of Human Trafficking Campaign in April 2017. Today she is introducing Title IX and the Clery Act which is becoming an issue for colleges and parents alike.

Future Hope:

My hope is that we will publish a series of articles which include the historical facts and changes that bring us to where we are today. Deborah is an expert consultant who is faced with the causes and effect of Title IX. The end result will look at the Church and what can the Church Do in the face of Title IX.

We will have one more article as we come to the end of our “Just One More Thing” Campaign.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

As always I Serve at the Pleasure of God,

Darlene J. Harris


Deborah D. Howard is the Founder and Chief Learning Officer of CIMA Associates, located in Lanham, Maryland. CIMA specializes in providing innovative training and management solutions to small businesses, faith-based organizations and higher education institutions.

The word “CIMA” has special significance to the company’s mandate. CIMA is taken from the Spanish word “peak” or “pinnacle”. Peak service in the areas of criminal justice advocacy, human resources, organizational development, change management, and higher education administration, is what CIMA’s clients have come to expect.

An Introduction to Title IX and the Clery Act in Higher Education

What Every Parent Should Know

 By Deborah D. Howard

In late summer and early fall of each year, students and their parents all across the country participate in the time-honored tradition of moving trunks, suitcases, refrigerators, and bedding from apartments and homes to a college or university dorm room. When selecting the best higher education institution for their child to attend, parents and guardians normally review information regarding graduation rates, extracurricular activities, sports programs, financial aid availability and school accreditation. Unfortunately, there is also an additional set of statistics for which students and their families need to familiarize themselves; that being statistics related to crimes occurring on campus – both sexual and non-sexual in nature.

As it pertains to sexual assaults, depending on where you retrieve your statistics, you will learn that:

  • One in 5 women and one in 17 men will be sexually assaulted while in college.i
  • More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault ii
  • Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.iii
  • Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.iv
  • 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.
  • Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.v
  • Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual

Confronted with these sobering statistics, what can make parents feel more at ease about leaving their children on today’s college campuses? Enter Title IX and the Clery Act.

Title IX-Equal rights for all

Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964). states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”.vi

Most people familiar with Title IX, associate it with gender equity in sports at the high school and college level. In fact, Title IX applies to all elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. Under this law, males and females (students and teachers), are expected to receive fair and equal treatment in all arenas of public schooling: recruitment, admissions, educational programs and activities, course offerings and access, counseling, financial aid, employment assistance, facilities and housing, health and insurance benefits, marital and parental status, scholarships, sexual harassment, and athletics.vii

Additionally, Title IX addresses incidents of sexual misconduct at all levels of education. This includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, cyber-bullying, dating/domestic violence, hazing, and stalking. In this era of heightened social media use as the primary means of communication, sexual exploitation has created a unique set of problems for educators, administrators, and investigators who are charged with addressing Title IX issues.

Sexual exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for his/her own advantage or benefit or for the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited and which behavior does not constitute any other form of sexual misconduct. The offense of sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to: Invasion of sexual privacy; Prostituting another person; Taping or recording of sexual activity; Going beyond the boundaries of consent to sexual activity (letting your friends hide to watch you engaging in sexual activity); Engaging in voyeurism; Knowingly transmitting an STI, STD, venereal disease or HIV to another person; Inducing another to expose their genitals and what is now called, “revenge porn”.

Revenge porn occurs when a person distributes sexually graphic photographs of another without his or her permission. The Cyber-Civil Rights Initiative opines that a more appropriate name for this offense would be “non-consensual pornography”, as it has been learned that most people who distribute the photos have no animosity or need for revenge against the victim. The act is merely an opportunity which presented itself.viii

Investigating Title IX complaints

When an incident of sexual misconduct is reported on a college campus, an investigation ensues. The standard (until recently) of proof has been “the preponderance of evidence”. This standard is essentially “more likely than not”, or “51% likely” that an incident occurred. Statements and evidence are collected. Both the complaint (survivor) and the respondent (accused) are interviewed and both have the right to introduce evidence and witnesses favorable to their respective versions of the incident in question. In most cases, a campus representative (Title IX Investigator/Coordinator or Human Resources member), conducts the investigation, determines responsibility and makes a recommendation for further action by the institution’s administration.

Because this process had been applied differently across campuses and across states, in 2011 ix, and then again in 2014 x, the Obama Administration established a set procedures to standardized the complaint/investigation process. It outlined and expounded on the “student’s bill of rights”, as well as accountability and responsibility for all affected parties.

The Chronicle of Higher Education sponsors a project on their website called, “Title IX: Tracking Title IX Investigations”. This project tracks federal investigations by the Office of Civil Rights (Department of Education) of colleges and universities for possible violations of the gender-equity law Title IX involving alleged sexual violence.xi

The Clery Act – Being an informed consumer

The bookend to Title IX is the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy Statistics Act more commonly referred to as the Clery Act.xii With the passage of the Clery Act in 1990 (resulting from the 1986 rape and subsequent murder of Jeanne Clery while attending Lehigh University), colleges and universities are required to report all incidents of crime occurring on their respective campuses.

Specifically, institutions are required to report the following: Murder, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, Arson and, Arrest of a student. Additionally, institutions are required to report Liquor Law violations, Drug Related Offenses, Weapons possession, and Hate crimes. Finally, as a result of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), an amendment to the Clery Act, higher education institutions are also required to report incidents of sexual misconduct to include: Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking.

Students, staff, faculty, and (in many cases, outside vendors), are required to complete training in areas including detecting signs of abuse, safe bystander intervention techniques, liability and responsibility, honor code violations, among other topics.

There are several areas where Title IX & Clery overlap. They are both concerned with the safety of staff and students. Both laws also have the goal of eliminating sexual violence. There are also areas where they differ. One main difference is that the Clery Act is consumer protection law. The information contained therein is compiled and disseminated for the purpose of ensuring current students remain aware of their surroundings and that potential students can make informed decisions about safety and crime statistics. Conversely, Title IX is civil rights legislation. As a result, violations related to Title IX may lead to penalties ranging from fines and suspensions to expulsion (and in the case of a joint criminal investigation), incarceration.

Changes on the horizon

The processes outlined by Obama Administration were recently reversed. Current Secretary of Education DeVos rescinded the 2011 and 2014 policies and established different interim procedures. One of the changes to the process is that schools and universities have the option to continue with the lower burden of proof (preponderance of evidence), or with a new higher burden of proof for the victim which is “clear and convincing evidence”. Another change is that educational institutions will have the option to allow for both sides to appeal a ruling or to just allow the respondent the right of appeal.

The information contained here should not be considered all-inclusive. The treatment of this subject is meant to be a primer – an introduction, if you will, to the concepts of Title IX & Clery compliance. A list of references can be found at the end of this article to assist with providing additional resources for further review of this topic.

What is important to know is just as you would check to find out about crime stats in a new neighborhood before you decide to buy a home, a similar check for crime stats should be done before you decide where to send your son or daughter to college. Being an informed consumer regarding all aspects of school life will aid in making the school experience a good one to remember in years to come.


i  Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C., Warner, T., Fisher, B., & Martin, S. (2007). The campus sexual assault (CSA) study: Final report. Retrieved from:

ii Fisher, B., Cullen, F., & Turner, M. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Office of Justice Program (NIJ). Retrieved from:

iii The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Survey. National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from:

iv Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct-2015. Westat. Retrieved from:

v Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females, 1995-2013 (2014). Office of Justice Programs – OJP. Retrieved from:

vi Feminist Majority Foundation. Retrieved from:

vii The Myra Sadker Foundation. Retrieved from:

viii Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. Retrieved from:

ix Dear Colleague Letter. Office of Civil Rights-Department of Education. Retrieved from archives: file:///C:/Users/School_user/Downloads/OCR%20DCL%204-4-11.pdf

x Questions and Answers Related to the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. Office of Civil Rights – Department of Education. Retrieved from archives:

xi “Title IX: Tracking Title IX Investigations”. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from:

xii The Clery Center. Retrieved from: