Penn State is accepting its punishment for Clery Act violations.
The U.S. Department of Education released its massive report on a five-year audit of the university’s Clery Act compliance on Nov. 6.
Penn State issued a release at that time that said it was “conducting a thorough review” of the 239-page report before commenting further.
The review has been completed.
In a statement issued Friday, President Eric Barron said his staff had “spent significant time” going over the findings.
“As the Department of Education was compiling its final report, we appreciated the opportunity to provide context and perspective where we disagreed with the findings,” Barron said. “Despite that, we have accepted the fines and will continue to focus on our ongoing Clery compliance. It is Penn State’s goal to not only meet the standards articulated by the Department of Education, as we believe we currently do, but to set a new standard for Clery compliance in higher education.”
Accepting the fines means agreeing to pay $2.4 million for violations over a period from 1998 to 2011.
The violations include: $27,500 for failure to notify; $27,500 for lack of administrative capacity; $27,500 for failure to include six required statements in its 2011 annual security report; $10,000 for failure to properly title its security and fire reports that same year; $27,500 for each violent crime not reported and smaller fines for lesser offenses, a total of 331 crimes; $27,500 for failure to collect statistics; $27,500 for failure to include accurate statistics; $27,500 for failure to distribute the security report in 2011; $27,500 for failure to properly notify prospective students and employees; $27,500 for failure to distribute the complete drug and alcohol prevention program information.
According to the Clery Center for Security on Campus, the Clery Act “requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety as well as inform the public of crime in or around campus.”
The university stressed reforms made since the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal broke in 2011.
“Today, Penn State has robust Clery training and collection processes in place,” Barron said. “We have many initiatives, including 18 focused on fighting sexual assault and misconduct, with the creation of new positions, mandatory employee training, a universal hotline and many others. Penn State has endorsed a standard of strict compliance, particularly over the past five years, and we will continue, and add as needed, numerous and vigorous efforts to create a culture of reporting, safety and accountability.”