Related Federal Laws and Reporting Mandates

Like other campuses across the country, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is required to comply with a multitude of federal laws regarding sexual violence response:

  • The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) is the landmark federal law, originally known as the Campus Security Act, that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The law is tied to an institution's participation in federal student financial aid programs and it applies to most institutions of higher education both public and private. The Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape. Title IX applies to all public and private educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance.

These laws include mandates for notification to the complainant and the respondent:

  • Under Title IX both the complainant and the respondent have equal rights to notification. Both parties must be notified, in writing, of the outcome of the complaint, and of any appeal.
  • The Clery Act requires postsecondary institutions to inform both parties of the outcome and related sanction of any disciplinary proceeding alleging a sex offense.
  • FERPA allows all institutions to disclose to the complainant information about a sanction imposed upon the respondent, when the sanction directly relates to the complainant.
  • FERPA continues to apply in the context of Title IX enforcement, but if there is a direct conflict between the requirements of FERPA and the requirements of Title IX, such that enforcement of FERPA would interfere with the primary purpose of Title IX to eliminate sex-based discrimination in schools, the requirements of Title IX override any conflicting FERPA provisions.