The Catholic University of America

Summary of Federal Laws


Miscellaneous Laws Affecting Students

Compliance Partners

Associate Dean - Student Conduct & Ethical Development
Director of Housing Services
DPS Administrative Assistant
Crime Prevention Officer
Dean of Students
Director of Public Safety

Campus Security Act of 1990, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008

20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)

34 C.F.R. § 668.46 and § 668.41 (latter link is to reporting and disclosure of information)

The Campus Security Act requires colleges to report campus crime statistics and security measures to all students and employees by October 1 of each year. Applicants must receive either a report or a notice of its availability and a brief summary of the report. Timely warnings must go out whenever a threat to students and employees is present for the crimes (listed below) which are reported to local police or campus security authorities. Procedures must be in place on how to issue these notices. Crime statistics must also be given to the U.S. Secretary of Education. Enforcement procedures and policies, as well as crime prevention and education programs must be described in the annual report. The 1992 Higher Education Amendments require a campus sexual assault prevention program. 

Final Regulations, Violence Against Women Act, 79 Fed. Reg. 62752, October 20, 2014.

The regulations are effective July 1, 2015, with good faith effort required upon publication.  A number of changes are included, many of which just clarify (hopefully) terms that were added per the change to the U.S. code when VAWA was adopted.  Included are the following: 

  • Maintain statistics on dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking;
  • Train all those involved in conducting disciplinary proceedings;
  • Train student and employees on preventing sexual assault; definitions such as consent, and campus policies on sexual misconduct;
  • Define the terms “awareness programs,” “bystander intervention,” “ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns,” “primary prevention programs,” and “risk reduction;
  • Record incidents of stalking based on the location where either the perpetrator engaged in the stalking or the victim first became aware of the stalking;
  • Require institutions to describe  each type of disciplinary proceeding used by the institution;  the steps, anticipated timelines;  decision-making process for each type of disciplinary proceeding; how to file a disciplinary complaint; and,  how the institution determines which type of proceeding to use based on the circumstances of an allegation of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  •  Require institutions to list all of the possible sanctions that the institution may impose following the results of any institutional disciplinary proceedings for an allegation of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  •  Require institutions to describe the range of protective measures that the institution may offer following an allegation of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Add gender identity and national origin as new categories of bias for a determination of a hate crime;
  • Describe each type of disciplinary proceeding used in cases of alleged sexual misconduct;
  • Provide the accuser and the accused the same opportunities to have an advisor of their choice present during the disciplinary proceeding;
  • Specify compliance with VAWA does not violate FERPA;
  • Include in their annual security report a statement of policy regarding their programs to prevent sexual misconduct and stalking, as well as the procedures that the institution will follow when such a crime is reported; and
  • Collect and disclose crime stats about crimes that were investigated but ended up being unfounded.

For a summary of these new rules, see the Chronicle Article titled In Rules on Campus Sexual Violence, Education Department Emphasizes Training, Max Lewontin.

July 21, 2014 ACE comment letter on VAWA proposed rulemaking

Dear Colleague Letter, GEN-14-13, July 14, 2014 Implementation of Changes to the Clery Act made by VAWA

Contains a statement schools should make a good faith effort to comply and has this statement: 

Until the Department has published the final regulations, institutions should use the statute as the basis for revising or developing policies, procedures, and programs in advance of the ASR that must be issued by October 1, 2014.

Presumably the statute will still be of use post issuance, and hopefully the regulations won't differ from the statute. Clarifies the reporting obligation as follows: 

While institutions must include calendar year 2013 statistics for domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in their ASRs to be issued to students, employees, and prospective students and employees later this year, they will not report these new crimes to the Department in the Web-based data collection this year. Instead, institutions will report the statistics for both calendar years 2013 and 2014 to the Department during the data collection period in Fall 2015.

Violence Against Women Act, Proposed Rule, 79 Fed. Reg. 35418, June 20, 2014

See the summary of the proposed regulations provided by the Department of Education. Comments due by July 21, 2014. See also Colleges Face New Requirements in Proposed Rules on Campus Sexual Assault, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, by Monica Vendituoli.

April 2014 Update on Status of Proposed Regulatory language for VAWA

On April 1, 2014, the Committee of Negotiations reached consensus on language implementing VAWA, which will be used in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which will be published this summer, with final regulations to be published Nov., 2014, effective July 1, 2015. See the NACUA summary as well.

NACUBO Update: Negotiators Reach Consensus on Violence Against Woman Act Rules: 4-4-14

Neg Reg Page on VAWA (Department of Education)

Negotiated Rulemaking Announcement, Department of Education, 78 Fed. Reg. 57571, Sept. 19, 2013.

Notice announcing the Department of Education’s plan to convene a panel to rewrite campus safety rules to changes made by VAWA.

Department of Education Interim Guidance dated May 29, 2013 on VAWA changes and implementation.

There will be negotiated rulemaking with respect to the VAWA required changes to the regulations in 34 CFR part 668, sub D. See 78 Fed. Reg. 22467, April 16, 2013 for the Announcement. Schools are to make a good faith effort to comply with the effective date of March 7, 2014, thus including updated statistics in the crime report filed by October 2014. The guidance notes as follows:

The Department expects that institutions will exercise their best efforts to include statistics for the new crime categories for calendar year 2013 in the Annual Security Report due in October of 2014. We understand, however, that institutions may not have complete statistics for the year when the statistics must be issued and reported to the Department.

Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2004 (VAWA) (SB 47) Codified at 42 USC 14045b. Signed by President on March 7, 2013.

Section 303 of the VAWA provides grant money of $12,000,000 (not more than $300,000 per IHE or $1M for consortia, on a competitive basis for a period of three years) for each of fiscal years 2014-2018 for use by institutions or consortia consisting of campus personnel, student organizations, campus administrators, security personnel, and regional crisis centers affiliated with the institution to develop and strengthen prevention education and awareness programs as well as security and investigation strategies to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence and stalking, and strengthen victim services in cases involving such crimes against women on campuses, which may include partnerships with local criminal justice authorities and community-based victim services agencies.

Section 304 of the VAWA makes changes to the Clery Act. It is effective one year after the date of the enactment of the bill. The legislation contains new definitions for dating violence, domestic violence and stalking for purposes of the law.  Hate Crimes are redefined for reporting purposes

Reportable hate crimes now include domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Categories of prejudice under hate crimes now include national origin and gender identity.

Annual Security Report

Must include a statement of institution’s programs to prevent domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (along with sexual assault) and

Procedures institution will follow once an institution will follow once an incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking has been reported, including a statement of the standard of evidence that will be used by any institutional conduct proceeding. (nb: DCL of April 4, 2011 suggested preponderance of evidence)

Policy statement must address:

Education programs to promote the awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, which shall include—

I) primary prevention and awareness programs for all incoming students and new employees, which shall include—(aa) a statement that the institution of higher education prohibits the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; (bb) the definition of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the applicable jurisdiction; (cc) the definition of consent, in reference to sexual activity, in the applicable jurisdiction; (dd) safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a person other than such individual; (ee) information on risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks; and (ff) the information described in clauses (ii) through (vii); and
(II) ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for students and faculty.
(ii) Possible sanctions or protective measures that such institution may impose following a final determination of an institutional disciplinary procedure regarding rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(iii) Procedures victims should follow if a sex offense, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking has occurred, including information in writing about—
(I) the importance of preserving evidence as may be necessary to the proof of criminal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or in obtaining a protection order;
(II) to whom the alleged offense should be reported;
(III) options regarding law enforcement and campus authorities, including notification of the victim’s option to (aa) notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police; (bb) be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses; and (cc) decline to notify such authorities; and
(IV) where applicable, the rights of victims and the institution’s responsibilities regarding orders of protection, no contact orders, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by a criminal, civil, or tribal court.
(iv) Procedures for institutional disciplinary action in cases of alleged domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, which shall include a clear statement that—
(I) such proceedings shall—(aa) provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution; and (bb) be conducted by officials who receive annual training on the issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability;
(II) the accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during an institutional disciplinary proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choice; and
(III) both the accuser and the accused shall be simultaneously informed, in writing, of-(aa) of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding that arises from an allegation of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(bb) The institution’s procedures for the accused and the victim to appeal the results of the institutional disciplinary proceeding; (cc) of any change to the results that occurs prior to the time that such results become final; and (dd) when such results become final.
(v) Information about how the institution will protect the confidentiality of victims, including how publicly-available recordkeeping will be accomplished without the inclusion of identifying information about the victim, to the extent permissible by law. (vi) Written notification of students and employees about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available for victims, both on- campus and in the community.
(vii) Written notification of victims about options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations, if so requested by the victim and if such accommodations are reasonably available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement.

Notification of student or employee rights/options must be given to anyone who reports being a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, whether the offense occurred on or off campus.

Timely warnings must withhold name of victim. The Government is to provide guidance/ best practices on how to implement this new law.

Changes made by the HEOA in 2008

Institutions are required to disclose emergency response policies and evacuation procedures. The first annual security report in which a statement of policy would need to be included would be the report due for distribution by October 1, 2010. The policy should include a description of how text messaging or any other electronic system will be used. The school would be required to document each test of the emergency response system, including data on exercise, time date and announced or unannounced. The emergency response policy must include procedures to implement the following:

  • Immediate notice to the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or staff occurring on the campus, unless issuing a notification will compromise efforts to contain the emergency;
  • Annual publication of emergency response and evacuation procedures to students and staff;
  • Annual test of emergency response and evacuation procedures. (20 USC 1092 (f)(1)(J));
  • Determine the appropriate campus community segment or segments to notify;
  • Determine the content of the notification; and
  • Initiate the notification system.

Two additional changes made by HEOA are the following:

Institutions must report whether they have agreements (i.e. written memoranda of understanding) with state or local police agencies for the investigation of alleged criminal offenses. (20 USC 1092 (f)(1)(C)(ii))

The list of hate crimes that must be reported has been modified to include the following crimes: larceny-theft, simple assault; intimidation, and property destruction, theft or vandalism. (20 USC 1092 (f)(1)(F)(ii))

See the NAICU HEA 101 Quick Guide to Campus Crime Reporting for more information and a link to the text of the  law.


Summary of the  Campus Safety Disclosure Responsibilities: Institutions of postsecondary education that participate in the Federal student financial assistance programs have been required by Section 485(a) and (f) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) to provide the Secretary with campus crime statistics since 1990. The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008 and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The HEOA made a number of additions to campus security reporting requirements. This spring, representatives from many postsecondary communities participated in meetings held by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to discuss regulatory language (negotiated rulemaking) and ED expects that language to be issued as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) later this summer. Final rules will be published by November 1, 2009 and will be effective on July 1, 2010. The link above provides a summary of these rules for planning purposes. DOE anticipates that further guidance will be provided once the final rules have been published. However, institutions must make a good-faith effort to comply with the statute in the absence of regulations and should therefore be gathering this information in preparation for the 2010 report.

What Kinds of Reports Need To Be Made Public?

1. Annual Security Report

The report or summary must be given to all enrolled students and current employees by October 1 of each school year. Distribution of the annual security report to enrolled students and current employees may be accomplished by

  • direct mailing (U.S. Post Office, campus mail, or e-mail);

  • direct provision of report to all students (hand out); or

  • posting on a Web site, and giving notice to all students on where to find it.

The notice must be by U.S. Postal Service, campus mail, or e-mail, and the notice must give the Web address and advise that a paper copy is available on request. Notice on the Web page or a campus kiosk of the availability of the report would not suffice.

Prospective students and employees also need to receive notice of the availability of the report.

According to the final regulations, the following items must be included in the annual security report:

  • the crime statistics (described below);

  • a statement of current campus policies regarding procedures for students and others to report criminal actions or other emergencies occurring on campus, including

  • policies for making timely warning reports to members of the campus community and for preparing the annual disclosure of crime statistics,

  • a list of the titles of each person or organization to whom students and employees should report the criminal offenses (described below), and

  • whether the institution has any policies or procedures (and a description of same) that allow disclosure by victims or witnesses of crimes on a voluntary, confidential basis for inclusion in the annual disclosure of crime statistics;

  • a statement of current policies concerning security of an access to campus facilities, including campus residences, and security considerations used in the maintenance of campus facilities;

  • a statement of current policies concerning campus law enforcement that

  • addresses the enforcement authority of security personnel, including their relationship with State and local police agencies and whether those security personnel have the authority to arrest individuals,

  • encourages accurate and prompt reporting of all crimes, and

  • describes procedures, if any, that encourage professional or pastoral counselors to inform persons being counseled of voluntary disclosure procedures referenced above;

  • a description of the type and frequency of programs designed to inform students and employees about campus security procedures and practices and to encourage students and employees to be responsible for their own security and the security of others;

  • a description of programs designed to inform students and employees about the prevention of crimes;

  • a statement of the institution's policy concerning monitoring of student criminal activity at off-campus locations of officially recognized student organizations;

  • a statement of policy regarding the possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages and enforcement of State underage drinking laws;

  • a statement of policy regarding the possession, use, and sale of illegal drugs and enforcement of federal and state drug laws;

  • a description of any drug or alcohol-abuse education programs, as required under Section 120(a) - (d) of the Higher Education Act;

  • a statement of policy regarding the institution's campus sexual assault programs to prevent sex offenses, and procedures to follow when a sex offense occurs. (Details of this requirement can be found at 34 C.F.R. § 668.46(b)(11) and here)

Record-keeping Requirements: Institutions must retain the records on crime statistics for three years following the last year the information was included in the annual report.

Note the VAWA changes, which are for college and university purposes, referred to as the Campus SaVE Act.

2. Notice of Availability of Report

Prospective students and prospective employees must receive notice of the availability of the report.

3. Campus Crime Alerts

A timely warning to the campus community must go out regarding any of the below listed crimes which are deemed to represent a threat to the students and employees, and which are reported to campus security authorities or to local police agencies. The campus crime alert must be issued in a manner that is timely and will aid in the prevention of similar crimes. Campus security may decide to issue an alert about a crime occurring off-campus but in a location frequented by students, even though such a crime would not be included in the annual report.

4. Campus Crime Log

Institutional law enforcement units must keep a daily log that records crimes by their nature, date, time, general location, and disposition of the complaint. The log must be made available to the public within two business days of a request unless disclosure of such information would:

  • be prohibited by law;

  • jeopardize the confidentiality of the victim;

  • jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation;

  • jeopardize the safety of an individual;

  • cause a suspect to flee or evade detection;

  • result in the destruction of evidence.

5. Filing of Report with Secretary of Education

The institution must submit the statistics over the Internet to the Secretary of Education, on an annual basis, and on the date specified by the Secretary. In recent years the reporting deadline has been October 15th.

The Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) Campus Security Statistics Website, provides a searchable database of statistics reported by colleges and universities.

What Crimes and Campus Offenses Must Be Reported?

Statistics on the following crimes and offenses are to be reported in the annual security report, which is also to be made available to all students:

  • Criminal Homicide: Murder, non-negligent, and negligent manslaughter. Non-negligent manslaughter is the killing of a person through gross negligence.

  • Sex Offenses, Forcible or Non-forcible: A forcible sex offense is any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will; or not forcibly or against that person's will where the victim is incapable of giving consent, i.e., intoxicated. Non-forcible sex offenses are acts of "unlawful, non-forcible sexual intercourse," e.g., incest or statutory rape.

  • Domestic Violence: The term ‘‘domestic violence’’ includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of D.C. (includes past or present marriage, domestic partnership, romantic, dating or sexual relationship) , or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of D.C.

  • Dating Violence: The term ‘‘dating violence’’ means violence committed by a person:
    (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and

    (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

    (i) The length of the relationship
    (ii) The type of relationship
    (iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

  • Stalking: Purposefully engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual that would cause a reasonable individual to fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person; feel seriously alarmed, disturbed or frightened; or suffer emotional distress.

  • Robbery: The taking, or attempting to take anything of value from the control, custody, or care of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.

  • Aggravated Assault: An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This offense is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.

  • Burglary: The unlawful entry (breaking and entering) into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

  • Arson: Willful or malicious burning or an attempt to burn a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, or personal property.

  • Motor Vehicle Theft: The theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.
  • On-campus Arrests for Alcohol, Drug and Illegal Weapon Violations
  • The number of students referred for Campus Disciplinary Actions1 for alcohol, drug or illegal weapon violations. (If included in the report as an arrest, a referral does not need to be reported under this category.)

  • Hate Crimes falling into the above list, involving bodily injury, or reported to the campus security office or local police. Hate crimes are to be reported by category of prejudice: race, gender, religion, sexual orientation,national origin and gender identity,  ethnicity or disability.  The list of hate crimes that must be reported  include the following crimes: larceny-theft, simple assault; intimidation, and property destruction, damage or vandalism.

When Must the Crime Be Reported?

Crimes must be included in the annual security report for the calendar year in which the crime was reported to the campus security authority. This may not always match the date of occurrence of the crime. See 34 C.F.R. § 668.46(c)(2).

Does It Matter Where the Crime Occurred -- On or Off Campus?

The institution must provide a geographic breakdown of the crime statistics by four categories:

  • on campus;

  • on campus and in a dormitory or other residential facility for students on campus;

  • in or on a non-campus building or property;

  • on public property.

Public property is defined in the regulations to include thoroughfares, streets, sidewalks, or parking facilities that are within the campus, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus. A map may be used in complying with the statistical reporting requirements. The  2011  Handbook For Campus Safety and Security Reporting  contains this statement as what constitutes public property: