Posted Date: October 09, 2020
Author: Office of Postsecondary Education
Subject: Rescission of and Replacement for the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting
This electronic announcement addresses the rescission of and replacement for the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting (“2016 edition”). This announcement also identifies and explains the significant changes between the 2016 edition and the new Clery-related Appendix of the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Handbook.
Other than the statutory and regulatory requirements included in this document, the contents of the new Appendix do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public. The document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the applicable statutory and regulatory provisions.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”) contains specific campus safety- and security-related requirements that can be challenging for some institutions of higher education to understand and satisfy. The 2016 edition, as well as the previous versions, created additional requirements and expanded the scope of the statute and regulations. Despite the fact that the guidance found in the 2016 edition did not have the force of law or regulations, some institutions may have felt pressured to satisfy the non-regulatory or non-statutory based aspects of the guidance, calculating that the financial and reputational consequences of non-compliance were too great. This is precisely one of the concerns raised in Executive Order 13891, “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents,” which noted that “[e]ven when accompanied by a disclaimer that it is non-binding, a guidance document issued by an agency may carry the implicit threat of enforcement action if the regulated public does not comply.” See: Exec. Order No. 13891, Sec. 1, 84 FR 55235.