The federal Department of Education has slightly reduced a fine against Yale University for violations of a crime-reporting law in the early 2000s.
In a July 9 letter, Mary Gust of the department's Federal Student Aid division announced a final figure of $155,000—$10,000 less than the fine proposed in May, which Yale appealed.
The fine arises from an investigation that the education department began in 2004, after this magazine reported on possible violations of the Jeanne Clery Act. ("Lux, Veritas, and Sexual Trespass," July/August 2004). In 2011, the department notified Yale that it had identified four forcible sex offenses on campus—two in 2001 and two in 2002—that should have been included in the university's annual report of crime statistics but were not. In addition, the department found that Yale had improperly defined its campus for crime-reporting purposes, omitting parts of Yale-New Haven Hospital that the university controls. Finally, Yale failed to publish required policy statements in its 2004 annual security report.
This spring, the education department proposed fines of $27,500—the maximum allowable—for each of the four unreported crimes, plus another $27,500 each for the campus-definition violation and the omitted policy statements.
Yale did not contest the question of campus definition but requested reconsideration of the other fines.
The department did not budge on the unreported sex offenses, which had been reported to Yale's Sexual Harrassment Grievance Board in 2001 and 2002 but excluded from the annual crime report.
"It is vital that institutions fully and accurately disclose the number of crimes on campus and the Secretary [of Education] has noted that the failure to do so is a serious offense," Gust's July 9 letter says.
The department did agree to reduce the fine for the failure to include seven required policy statements. Although "Yale has never explained why it did not include the required policy statements," the letter notes that the university did amend its 2004 report after the education department notified it of the failure. Given that correction and the fact that the violation is nearly eight years old, the department reduced the fine by $10,000.
Yale's Office of Public Affairs and Communications had no immediate comment.