UNC announced it has settled with the U.S. Department of Education over violations of campus safety laws found during an six-year federal review.
University leadership shared the settlement, a $1.5 million fine to resolve any future potential penalty the Department of Education could impose, with the campus community on Tuesday. The measure comes after the federal department shared its final report on UNC’s compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, better known as the Clery Act, in November.
By settling, the university waived its right to respond to the final determination and resolves the federal review, with additional steps laid out for UNC to continue its safety reform.
The Clery Act entitles students and employees to receive accurate information about the realities of threats to their personal safety and security of their property. The Department of Education’s November report found the university failed to properly respond, discipline and prevent sexual assault incidents, as well as failing to report campus crimes. The department began a program review of UNC in 2013 after five women filed a complaint alleging the university mishandled a sexual assault case and mistreated sexual assault victims.
UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz issued a message to the campus community along with the settlement’s announcement. He said while the university had already taken steps to improve its Clery Act compliance since the review was launched, the overall findings were still “disappointing.” Guskiewicz also pointed to the steps he’s taken since entering the chancellorship in an effort to address the shortcomings, like the hiring of David Perry as UNC Police Chief and the creation his Campus Safety Commission and the position of Vice Chancellor for Integrity and Risk Management.
Carolina has reached a settlement with @usedgov after it found serious deficiencies in our crime & safety reporting between 2009-2017. We've made improvements & changes since the review began, but the shortcomings do not meet our standards for excellence. https://t.co/YT0eu2EbL2
— Kevin Guskiewicz (@KevinGuskiewicz) June 30, 2020
“Carolina is committed to preventing, responding to and accurately reporting crimes, and to issuing timely notice about any known safety threats to our campus community,” wrote Guskiewicz. “Protecting the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors remains a critical priority for our University. We are committed to putting the right people, training and resources in place to continuously improve and strengthen our Clery Act compliance and safety program, and to keep pace with the very best practices on college campuses nationwide.”
As part of the settlement, UNC agreed to a “complete reassessment of its procedures and protocols related to campus safety,” the creation of a Clery Compliance Committee and a review of its Clery Incident Report Form.
The Department of Education will be monitoring the implementation of those measures in a Post-Review Monitoring Program, which will deliver reports every six months on the university’s progression and compliance. It will also conduct at least one compliance assessment on UNC’s campus within three years. The first report of the Post-Review Monitoring Program of UNC’s Clery Act compliance will be delivered by September 1.
To view the full settlement between UNC and the U.S. Department of Education, click here.