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Department Of Education Releases Investigation Results On Penn State Clery Reporting, Fines University Record $2.4 Million For Violations

The Department of Education just released a report outlining conclusions of its investigation of Penn State’s Clery Act compliance incited by the Sandusky scandal and subsequent fallout. Penn State was fined a record $2.4 million for Clery Act violations.

According to a press release from the Department of Education, the fine cites 11 Clery Act violations related to the Sandusky scandal and the university’s failure to comply with Clery Act regulations related to campus security and crime reporting. The investigation covered the university’s compliance from 1998 to 2011 because allegations against Sandusky covered that 14-year span.

The DoE told then-President Graham Spanier on Nov. 9, 2011 it planned to launch an investigation and outlined a list of documents it requested from the university. The investigation officially began on Nov. 28 of the same year, and Penn State hired Gabriel Gates as a full-time Clery Compliance Manager in March 2012. Initial reports on this investigation were released to Penn State in July 2013, but due to federal regulations, the university couldn’t disclose any details until the final review process was complete (read: until now).

In January 2014, the Office of Civil Rights with the DoE announced the investigation focused on determining if Penn State complied with Title IX regulations prohibiting gender discrimination. To summarize, officials investigated whether the university responded immediately and appropriately to sexually-related complaints.

Penn State is expected to try and settle with the DoE for a lower amount. Eastern Michigan, who was handed a then-record $357,000 fine in 2007 for its failure to warn the community of a student who was assaulted and murdered in 2006, settled for $350,000.

You can read the complete findings of the investigation and their associated fines below.

Finding #1: Clery Act violations related to the Sandusky matter (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #2: Lack of administrative capability as a result of the University’s substantial failures to comply with the Clery Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act throughout the review period, including insufficient training, support, and resources to ensure compliance (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #3: Omitted and/or inadequate annual security report and annual fire safety report policy statements (proposed fine: $37,500).

Finding #4: Failure to issue timely warnings in accordance with federal regulations.

Finding #5: Failure to properly classify reported incidents and disclose crime statistics from 2008-2011 (proposed fine: $2,167,500).

Finding #6: Failure to establish an adequate system for collecting crime statistics from all required sources (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #7: Failure to maintain an accurate and complete daily crime log.

Finding #8: Reporting discrepancies in crime statistics published in the annual security report and those reported to the department’s campus crime statistics database (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #9: Failure to publish and distribute an annual security report in accordance with federal regulations (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #10: Failure to notify prospective students and employees of the availability of the annual security report and annual fire safety report (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #11: Failure to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (proposed fine: $27,500).

Penn State subsequently released a statement on the report, stating “While regrettably we cannot change the past, today the University has been recognized for significantly strengthening our programs since 2011. The safety and security of our University community is a top priority and we are dedicated to full compliance with the Clery Act and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act.” A further statement is expected after a full evaluation of the report.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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