Institutions of higher education (IHEs)—whether public or private, two‑year or four‑year, junior or community colleges, or flagship land-grant institutions—are subject to federal laws and policies that help ensure that a campus is safe, such as the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA), the Clery Act, and the Title IX Amendment.
The U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies administer mandates under six acts of Congress that require virtually all IHEs to undertake and document various activities in their policymaking, planning, and reporting. Complying with the spirit and not just the letter of the law supports IHEs in promoting a safe and supportive learning environment because the goals are mutually supportive.
The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) and Regulations (DFSCR) require that campuses closely examine their prevention program biennially.
These regulations require campuses to certify that they have adopted and implemented programming to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol by students and employees through annual notification and biennial review. The biennial review is designed to document an IHE's prevention efforts. Complying with the spirit and not just the letter of the law supports IHEs in their alcohol abuse and drug-prevention efforts and provides significant benefits and opportunities for the entire institution and its students.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) requires IHEs to disclose information about crime on their campuses and in the surrounding communities.
The 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act addresses high rates of dating violence and sexual assault on college campuses.
The act requires colleges and universities to provide information to students about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and inform students and staff about the number of these crimes that occur on and near campus. Colleges also will be required to create and disseminate policies describing the protections, resources, and services available to victims to help them safely continue their education.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 describes the most recent amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Discrimination can include sexual violence such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. See Title IX: Sex Discrimination: Overview of the Law: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/sexoverview.html. For more on civil-rights protections enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/aboutocr.html.