The University of Montana

01/25/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/26/2019 02:35

US Department of Education Reduces UM Clery Fine

UM News Service

MISSOULA - The U.S. Department of Education has agreed to a significant reduction in the fines levied against the University of Montana over reporting requirements of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act (the Clery Act).

Last September, DOE fined the University $966,614 for failing to comply with reporting requirements. After further review, the department reduced the fine to $395,000.

In an email message to campus, UM President Seth Bodnar announced the fine amount and a payment plan for the next five years. He also affirmed the institution's commitment to safety and the procedures already in place.

'It is important to note the errors identified in these past reports have to do with process and the categorization of crimes in the statistics that were submitted,' he wrote. 'This is not an issue of the University's efforts around prevention and response to crime. Our commitment to campus safety is unwavering. The University of Montana, like all other colleges and universities, must maintain a safe campus where all of our students can learn, thrive and grow. It is fundamental to our mission as an institution of higher learning, and we will continue our tireless efforts to ensure a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all.'

UM initially was fined for crime statistics omissions in the institution's Annual Security Report for the years 2012-15. UM will pay the fine with monthly payments through January 2024.

UM spokeswoman Paula Short noted the University has made important and significant steps to address its Clery Act compliance.

'The University has instituted changes aimed at ensuring compliance in how it classifies and reports crime statistics. Specifically, a Clery Core Team meets every two weeks to review the campus police crime log and all reported incidents at UM. This is in addition to the UM Police daily review of the campus crime log,' she said.

'Clery compliance requires keeping current on federal policies and guidelines, understanding the roles and responsibilities of campus officials and careful review and reporting of crime statistics to ensure accuracy in the Annual Security Report,' Short said. 'We are building a strong compliance program to ensure we meet full intent and requirements of the Clery Act.'

The current UM's Annual Security Report can be viewed online at

http://www.umt.edu/clery/doc/AnnualSecurityFireSafetyReport.pdf.

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Contact: Paula Short, director of communications, UM Office of the President, 406-243-5608, [email protected].