UVA Violated The Jeanne Clery Act AND Failed To Report Another Sex Crime

October 6, 2010

UVA Violated The Jeanne Clery Act AND Failed To Report Another Sex Crime

Charlottesville, VA– Late Tuesday evening, prompted by questions by the Editor In Chief of blinkoncrime.com about a recent rape which occurred at the DZ sorority on Chancellor Street, The University of Virginia sent out an alert to students.

However, as required of UVA by the Clery Act, the alert was 10 days late. Charlottesville Police recorded a police report of a forcible rape on September 17, 2010.

The Jeanne Clery Act, founded by her parents, Howard and Connie Clery, is a Federal Law applicable to all Higher Learning Institutions that participate in Federal funding assistance which requires mandatory reporting for specified crimes.

Constance and Howard Clery founders of Security ON Campus, Inc. after their 19 year old daughter Jeanne was brutally raped, tortured and murdered while sleeping in her dorm on April 5, 1986.

Fellow Lehigh University co-eds propped 3 different doors open, in violation of security rules, unknowingly allowing her killer access.

The bill which became a Federal law, was based on the fact that 38 different violent offenses occurred at Lehigh U that the student body was never made aware of prior to Clery’s murder. Had they been, it is almost certain not only would the automatic locking doors have been inaccessible, but parents and students combined would have demanded security upgrades to prevent such a heinous event.

Following the email that went to 23,000 students at 11:01 PM September 28, Allen Groves, Dean of Students, and Lt. Melissa Fielding of the University Police Department, held an impromptu press conference Wednesday, as a follow up to the email alert with some additional background information.



Time line Breakdown

9–17 1:15am UVA student attacked from behind, raped and beaten on Delta Zeta House, Chancellor Street.

9-17 Noon- Email Equivalent to “Whisper Down the Rotunda” Begins:

Received a third party email, NOT from the victim, indicating a stranger attack had occurred to a sister, as previously reported at blinkoncrime.com, at DZ House on Chancellor St.  We forwarded that on to our endless list of associate deans. They called the Sorority president for more  information so that we might begin “acting upon it”.

9–18 Additional Sexual Assault Occurs At Fraternity on Madison Lane 3AM

*Unreported To Students To Date*

9–18 A Robbery Occurs During the Course of Above, Same Frat 3AM

*Unreported To Students To Date*

9–19 A Breaking And Entering Occurs, Undisclosed Sorority House, Chancellor St

*Unreported To Students To Date*

9-20 Associate Dean reaches out directly to the victim to ..”get the details of the attack and also to assist the student. No contact made with victim.

9–20 Associate Deans Office receives call from a female student’s Mother that her daughter was nearly sexually assaulted in a pantry at a Fraternity party at approximately midnight, September 18. Add additionally, Groves speaks to a man claiming to be assaulted due to his sexual preference, which would be considered a hate crime, also reportable under the Clery Act. According to Groves and Fielding no police report has been filed. (Editors Note: If this took place at the same “undisclosed frat” as the 3am forcible fondling and robbery incidents– Is this the same perp? So he never fled the scene? So, we have 2 incidents that have Charlottesville PD police reports, one of a sex crime in nature, and an additional attempted sex crime reported directly to administration on 9/20 within a three hour span, at either the same fraternity, or a neighboring one, and it takes 8 days to notify anyone, and they still have not interviewed anyone at the “undisclosed” frat regarding the incidents?

9-21 Internal Meeting about the 9/17 forcible rape but to UVA, they are  “unclear” sex assault occurs, still no contact with, or direct information with the victim. ( Editors Note: Groves says Charlottesville PD has still not classified the incident as a sex assault. (Editors Note: This is ludicrous and utter bs. The report specifically states “forcible rape”.  I can tell you as an absolute fact, that members of the sorority AS WELL AS the other sororities on Chancellor sent emails back and forth to alert each other which specifically included details of the assault).

9-21 Associate Dean contacts Cville PD. Was told .. Yes, investigating the incident, but would not be in a position to disclose whether there had been an assault or sexual assault  also, at that point. We then conferred with the university police to see if there was anything they could tell us so that we could determine whether or not a sex assault occurred in that setting.

9-23 Sorority Meeting held, without the victim, to discuss outreach opportunities.

9-27 First time Associate dean heard directly from the victim in response to the outreach efforts, first time she was in a position to come forward (out of hospital). Victim had to cancel and has rescheduled.

9-28 “.. Certainly by last evening… after conferring with Lt. Fielding and others I felt we had enough information.. Even though to my knowledge Charlottesville Police have not classified this as a sexual assault..”  but we believe we had enough, even though it was not our investigation, it was Charlottesville Police responsibility to alert..” (Editors Note: Not a syllable about the email I sent to Ms. Wood, who was unaware of the incident, and very responsive to me. The alert went out at 11:01 PM, 45 minutes after our article regarding same, was published. In this editors opinion, there were no plans whatsoever to alert students until I requested a comment, specifying it was to be included in the piece we were finishing regarding the fact that the rape had not yet been disclosed as an alert, as required by the Clery Act.  This was done to balance what was certain to be seen as a scandalous announcement in the wake of Morgan Harrington and Yeardley Love murders, and days after the University’s “Day of Dialogue.”  I felt they should certainly be offered an opportunity to address the issue from their perspective, the email was their response to that invitation).

Clearly A Clery Violation… Again

The Articles for reporting within the Clery Act are unambiguous. While I understand the need to alert students and parents with credible and useful information, this is not for UVA officials to decide unilaterally. In fact, it is not for them to ever need to “corroborate” or interview a victim regarding the details of any crime committed against them as identified in the Clery Act for UVA to observe the requirements of them under the Federal law.

In short, they have their own police. They have their “online form”. They have Charlottesville PD police report direct feed.

In 2004, The Board of Education found that UVA violated the Clery Act by requiring a rape victim to sign a confidentiality agreement, but gave them a pass by not imposing sanctions because there was some confusion as to the reporting rules and protocol. UVA was informed they will be assessed a $27,500 sanction fee for any future violations.

As I am certain many of you are over my bloviations about the subject, and in the interest of disclosure, I have personal ties to Lehigh University.

Also in the interest of disclosure, I am embarrassed to say that I was not aware that Ms. Clery’s murder occurred there until researching the Clery Act.

Some Posts from members of your local community for consumption, I will be updating poignant comments.

Blinkoncrime.com Poster Starbucks:

Regarding the “off grounds” issue, I’m sorry but I find University’s excuses in this area ludicrous and totally disingenuous.

The Clery Act, passed in 1990, unambiguously provides that its reporting requirements are not limited to crimes occurring on campus/”Grounds.” The University has had twenty years to figure out how to comply with this law, and yet its officials act as dumbfounded as ever. One would think that UVA is the only school in the nation with a significant portion of its student body living off campus/Grounds, but in close proximity to the University. Of course, this situation is commonplace.

If UVA is having such a difficult time dealing with the “off grounds” issue, I suggest that President Sullivan get in contact with the appropriate officials at her previous institutions. Sullivan spent most of her career at the University of Texas where 80% of its undergraduate student body lives off campus, as opposed to 57% at UVA. She then spent about four years at the University of Michigan where 37% of its undergraduates live off campus. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here; if UVA officials can’t figure out how to report crimes occurring near its campus, they should go study how other universities are dealing with this perplexing problem.

The implication that there is no communication between the Charlottesville Police and the UVA police/campus officials simply stretches the bounds of credulity.

UVA is required by the Clery Act to provide:

(C) A statement of current policies concerning campus law enforcement, including—

(ii) the working relationship of campus security personnel with State and local law enforcement agencies, including whether the institution has agreements with such agencies, such as written memoranda of understanding, for the investigation of alleged criminal offenses; and

(iii) policies which encourage accurate and prompt reporting of all crimes to the campus police and the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

I can’t seem to find UVA’s policies in this area. I challenge the University to prominently publish all of the required Clery Act policy statements on its website.

UVA is on notice:

“This determination finds that the University violated the Clery Act. However, as was noted in our July 2004 Final Determination in another case, there was apparent confusion in the higher education community regarding the intersection of the disclosure requirement under the Clery Act and the strictures of FERPA. For this reason, the Department will not impose any fines or other sanctions at this time. However, UVA is advised that any subsequent violations of the Clery Act will result in a referral for the imposition of a civil penalty up to $27,500 per infraction.”


So please UVA, stop the excuses and clean up your act now.

Respectfully submitted via BlinkOnCrime

Madeline Tanner, Elizabeth Morton, contributing editors

  1. January 25, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    The key in all of this is JURISDICTION! please support us this week as we try to get HB2490 out of committee and in front of the legislature for a vote. It has a lot of opposition from campus police groups. The bill is as follows:

    HOUSE BILL NO. 2490
    Offered January 21, 2011
    A BILL to amend and reenact § 23-234 of the Code of Virginia, relating to campus police; report of certain incidents to local law-enforcement agency.
    Patrons– Miller, P.J., Ebbin, Herring, Hope, Kory and Torian
    Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. That § 23-234 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

    § 23-234. Powers and duties; jurisdiction.

    A. A campus police officer appointed as provided in § 23-233 or appointed and activated pursuant to § 23-233.1 may exercise the powers and duties conferred by law upon police officers of cities, towns, or counties, and shall be so deemed, including but not limited to the provisions of Chapters 5 (§ 19.2-52 et seq.), 7 (§ 19.2-71 et seq.), and 23 (§ 19.2-387 et seq.) of Title 19.2, (i) upon any property owned or controlled by the relevant public or private institution of higher education, or, upon request, any property owned or controlled by another public or private institution of higher education and upon the streets, sidewalks, and highways, immediately adjacent thereto, (ii) pursuant to a mutual aid agreement provided for in § 15.2-1727 between the governing board of a public or private institution and such other institution of higher education, public or private, in the Commonwealth or adjacent political subdivisions, (iii) in close pursuit of a person as provided in § 19.2-77, and (iv) upon approval by the appropriate circuit court of a petition by the local governing body for concurrent jurisdiction in designated areas with the police officers of the county, city, or town in which the institution, its satellite campuses, or other properties are located. The local governing body may petition the circuit court pursuant only to a request by the local law-enforcement agency for concurrent jurisdiction.

    B. The chief law-enforcement officer of a public or private institution of higher education, or his designee, shall immediately notify the local law-enforcement agency of the locality in which the institution of higher education is located of (i) the death of any person on the property of the institution when such person is medically unattended and (ii) any report alleging that a rape has occurred on the property of the institution. Upon notification, the local law-enforcement agency shall assume responsibility for leading the investigation. The campus police department and all other employees of the institution of higher education shall cooperate with the local law-enforcement agency conducting the investigation and shall provide any assistance requested by the local law-enforcement agency.

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