Murder of Jeanne Clery

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Jeanne Clery
Born (1966-11-23)November 23, 1966
Pennsylvania United States
Died April 5, 1986(1986-04-05) (aged 19)
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Parent(s) Connie and Howard Clery

The murder of Jeanne Clery occurred in 1986, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at Lehigh University. Clery, who was a student at the time of her death, was killed in her campus dormitory. Clery's parents, who believed the University had failed to share vital information with its students regarding campus safety, campaigned for legislative reform for several years following their daughter's death. Their sustained efforts ultimately resulted in the passage of the Clery Act, a federal law requiring all universities and colleges receiving federal student financial aid programs to report crime statistics, alert campus of imminent dangers, and distribute an Annual Campus Security Report to current and prospective students and employees.

Since the act's passage in 1990, numerous institutions have been found noncompliant and significantly fined. From 2008–2012, 14 higher education institutions were fined for Clery Act noncompliance.[1] Large scale Clery violations resulted in financial fines at institutions such as Pennsylvania State University, Eastern Michigan University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


On April 5, 1986, Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in Stoughton Hall at Lehigh University by Josoph M. Henry, who was also a student. Clery was awoken by Henry in the process of robbing her, and Henry then beat, cut, raped, sodomized, and strangled Jeanne.[2][3] Prior to Jeanne's death, there were reports that her dorm had had 181 situations of auto-locking doors being propped open by residents. The propped doors, as well as Clery's own room door left unlocked (for her roommate, who forgot her key) are believed to be how Henry entered Stoughton Hall.[citation needed] He was reported to the police after confessing the murder to his friends and was subsequently apprehended.[4] He was later sentenced to death via the electric chair, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania upon appeal.[4][5] In 2002, after his death sentence was thrown out, Henry opted to give up his appeal rights and accepted life in prison rather than face another death penalty hearing with the possibility of a reinstated death sentence.[6]

Insufficient public warnings regarding criminal activity on campus[edit]

As Connie and Howard Clery learned more about their daughter's death, they grew convinced that their daughter had died because of "slipshod" security on campus. Beyond this, they believed the university had "a rapidly escalating crime rate, which they didn't tell anybody about". At the time, Lehigh University's vice president John Smeaton, denied claims saying security measures were "more than adequate, reasonable and appropriate for our setting and our situation. You can't prevent everything from happening."[2] Nonetheless, the Clery family believed that campus crime statistics had been significantly underreported, and led to Clery's parents founding the nonprofit organization Security On Campus, Inc. Today the foundation is called the Clery Center for Security On Campus.[7][8][9]

Clery Act[edit]


The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or 'Clery Act' is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. 668.46. The Clery Act, signed in 1990, was originally known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act.


The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, which can impose civil penalties, up to $56,906 per violation, against institutions for each infraction and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs.

Each year, institutions must publish and distribute their Annual Campus Security Report to current and prospective students and employees. This report is required to provide crime statistics for the prior three years, policy statements regarding various safety and security measures, campus crime prevention program descriptions, and procedures to be followed in the investigation and prosecution of alleged sex offenses.

Beyond this, universities are required to provide a Crime log, timely warnings to students, and crime statistics. The institution's police department or security departments are required to maintain a public log of all crimes reported to them, or those of which they are made aware. The Clery Act requires institutions to give timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.[10] Institutions are required to report on crimes such as: Murder, Rape, dating violence, Robbery, Arrest, Hate crimes and disciplinary actions by the institution.


Since its founding, major incidents where universities were found in violation of the Clery act include Eastern Michigan University and the Murder of Laura Dickinson, the Penn State sex abuse scandal, and Virginia Tech shooting which received major media coverage.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Clery Act: Costs of Noncompliance". Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  2. ^ a b BEYETTE, BEVERLY (August 10, 1989). "Campus Crime Crusade : Howard and Connie Clery Lost Their Daughter to a Crazed Thief; NoThey're Angry and Fighting Back". LA Times. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  3. ^ Gross, Ken (February 19, 1990). "After Their Daughter Is Murdered at College, Her Grieving Parents Mount a Crusade for Campus Safety". Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  4. ^ a b "Com. v. Henry, 550 Pa. 346 (1997)". Justia. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  5. ^ "Ex-Lehigh Student Sentenced To Electric Chair for Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  6. ^ "Henry trades appeal rights for life in prison for 1986 rape, murder of Lehigh student". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  7. ^ "Our History". Clery Center for Campus Security. Clery Center for Campus Security. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Complying With The Jeanne Clery Act". Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  9. ^ "Ranking the Safest (and Least Secure) College Campuses". Readers Digest. 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
  10. ^ "Clery Act Compliance". Clery Center for Security On Campus. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.

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