Baylor fined over $461,000 for Clery Act violations

Baylor was fined Friday over $460,000 for Clery Act violations stemming from misreporting campus crime from 2011-2016. Lariat File Photo.

By Matthew Soderberg | News Editor

Baylor was fined $461,656 on Friday for Clery Act violations ranging from 2011-2016. The university will not be contesting the fine.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, first passed in 1990 and amended in 1998 and 2008, was passed in order to increase the transparency of crime reporting on college campuses.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Education began to review the university’s Annual Fire Safety and Security Reports as well as the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program alongside other safety and security materials. The maximum fine a university can receive per offense is $58,328.

In an email sent to faculty and staff, Baylor laid out its faults.

“These violations include lack of administrative capability, failure to report accurate crime statistics in the annual safety and security report, failure to comply with timely warning issuance and policy provisions, and failure to maintain an accurate, complete daily crime log,” the email said.

Baylor “does not plan to contest this fine” as it believes it is “fair given the circumstances” comparing to fines sent to other colleges and universities. The university also emphasized the new standards it has set since the new administration was appointed in 2017.

“We believe that the Department of Education took note of the University’s significant corrective actions made in the administration of and compliance with the Clery Act, and found them acceptable,” the email said.

Baylor will not be required to have a continuous review of its Clery program whereas other institutions have in the past. In an email sent to students later Friday afternoon, President Linda Livingston suggested Baylor’s new on-campus culture had much to do with that decision.

“We have worked diligently to resolve the issues that prevented Baylor from effectively implementing our Clery obligations in the past, and we believe that the Department of Education took note of our corrective actions and found them acceptable,” Livingstone said. “Going forward, we aim to set a standard among colleges and universities in in the administration of the Clery Act on our campus.”

Baylor is not the only major institution in the past few years to be handed such a fine. Penn State was fined $2.4 million in 2016, Michigan State was fined $4.5 million in 2019 and California Berkeley was fined $2.35 million earlier this fall.

Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jason Cook said the university “will not be providing any additional information” on the individual infractions other than what was included in Friday’s emails.