Statement Regarding May 23 Letter from the U.S. Department of Education
The May 23 Final Program Review Determination from the US Department of Education conveys the Department’s findings of the review it opened in October 2004 of the University’s compliance with the federal Clery Act’s reporting and disclosure requirements relating to reports of crimes on and proximate to the campus. The years in question are 2001-06. During the 6 ½ years that the University has cooperated with the Department of Education on its investigation, Yale has repeatedly amended and strengthened its Clery Act reporting processes to conform to the evolving interpretations of the regulations by federal officials.
The May 23 letter conveyed two Findings where the Department of Education found Yale’s actions and responses to be unsatisfactory. Both relate to procedures that Yale has long since corrected. Prior to 2004, Yale’s published statistics included those incidents reported to law enforcement authorities, Yale College disciplinary committee (ExComm), and other campus security authorities, but did not include statistics of sexual assault claims of students who approached the Sexual Harassment Grievance Board. When we were informed by the Department of Education in 2004 of its interpretation of who the Department considered to be “campus security authorities” for this purpose, we added the Sexual Harassment Grievance Board to Yale’s annual reporting register, and we completely reviewed our determinations of who are “campus security authorities.” Yale’s Clery reporting statistics since 2004 have accomplished precisely what the Department is now noting as “required action.” It is true that the reporting requirements as we understood them almost a decade ago led to Yale to not report 2 incidents in 2001 and 2 in 2002 that we would now disclose in the normal course.
The second Finding by the Department of Education appears to relate to the Department’s conclusion that Yale did not make timely disclosure to the campus community of an incident in October 2005, and other unnamed incidents. Without debating the details of the named incident, Yale instituted several years ago a protocol that assures coordination among the deans, masters and the Yale Chief of Police, who sends emails to the campus community when crimes posing a significant threat to the University campus community are reported.
The Department has accepted Yale’s explanations and responses with respect to the other preliminary findings it had made in 2010. DOE is also well aware that Yale has taken the corrective action it is now calling for. Yale is deeply committed to having a safe campus, and a community well informed about crimes and safety. We do not believe that enforcement action about reporting violations nearly a decade old and long since corrected serves a useful purpose.