U.S. Department of Education Rescinds and Replaces 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting

Washington — The U.S. Department of Education announced last week that it has rescinded and replaced the 2016 edition of the Handbook for Campus Security and Reporting.

The Department said that much of the 2016 Clery Act subregulatory guidance “was outside of the scope of the relevant statutory (20 U.S.C. 1092) and regulatory (34 CFR 668.41 and 668.46) authority.” The Department also announced that the rescission will inform its views moving forward but will not retroactively apply to previous Department determinations regarding Clery Act violations, fines, enforcement actions, or any other related actions by the Department.”

Additionally, the announcement summarized a new Clery-related Appendix of the Federal Student Aid Handbook and changes between the 2016 Handbook and the new appendix.

According to the Clery Center, “These changes primarily impact Clery Act geography and campus security authorities, providing less direction on how institutions should interpret the regulatory requirements related to public property and noncampus geography as well as who is required to report under the Clery Act. They also direct institutions directly to the regulations for definitions of Clery Act crimes.”

The Clery Center said that the 2016 edition “spoke to areas where institutions were continually reaching out to the Department for more clarity and guidance to inform their own application, and provided better insight and examples as to what the regulations can look like in practice.

“No guidance is perfect — we have, in fact, advocated for certain changes to the Handbook to address areas of overcomplication or confusion for institutions; however, we do not anticipate that there will be fewer questions with the rescission of this guidance altogether. The Department just has one less resource available to help answer these persistent questions.”

Although the Department advised institutions not to rely on the 2016 edition, it will be archived on the Department’s website. The archived edition can be found here.

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