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Yale fined $165,000 for crime-report violations

Nine years after the US Department of Education began to investigate questions about Yale's reporting of campus crime, the department has fined the university $165,000* for its failure to report four sex offenses and for other violations.

Two years ago, the department said that Yale had violated the federal Jeanne Clery Act when it omitted the forcible sex offenses—two in 2000 and two in 2001—from its annual federally mandated reports of campus crime statistics. The incidents had been reported to the university's Sexual Harassment Grievance Board but not to Yale or New Haven police. The department also faulted Yale for failing to include Yale–New Haven Hospital—which Yale uses for educational purposes—as part of the campus when reporting crimes. Finally, the university was cited for failing to include required information about its policies in its annual security reports.

In an April 19 letter [PDF] to President Richard Levin ’74PhD, DOE official Mary Gust explained that she has assessed fines of $27,500—the maximum penalty under the department's regulations—for each of the four unreported sex offenses, another $27,500 for leaving the hospital out of crime reports, and another $27,500 for the omitted policy statments. Gust writes that "in determining the amount of fine, the Department considers both the gravity of the offense and the size of the institution."

The DOE says it began its investigation in 2004 after our magazine published an article about Yale's policies on sexual misconduct ("Lux, Veritas, and Sexual Trespass," July/August 2004). The article raised questions about the university's compliance with the Clery Act. Yale began revising its policies even before the article was published, and the 2011 DOE report that cited the violations acknowledged that Yale had largely corrected the problems. But Gust's letter says that "Yale's correction of the crime statistics only after the department alerted the university of its obligations in 2004 does not excuse its earlier failure to comply with its legal obligations."

University spokesman Tom Conroy said in a statement that the university will seek to have the fines reduced. “Yale fully supports the Department of Education’s mandate under the Clery Act and believes that student safety is of paramount importance," Conroy said. "The university is fully committed to maintaining a robust program of campus security policies and campus crime statistics reporting that contains all of the elements prescribed by the Clery Act. However, the University believes that the Department’s imposition of maximum fines is not warranted based on the particular situations that resulted in findings of violations and, as a result, does not meaningfully advance the goals of the Clery Act.”

* This story and its headline initially—and incorrectly—reported the total amount of the fines as $135,000.

Filed under Clery Act, Department of Education, sexual misconduct
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