October 3, 2023 : By Office of Communications & Public Engagement
“Liberty University has established a strong, sustainable, and legally compliant Clery Act program that prioritizes compliance, transparency, and the safety and security of our entire campus without exception.” – Liberty President Dondi Costin.
In Spring 2022, the U.S. Department of Education launched a program review of Liberty University’s compliance with the Clery Act between 2016 and 2022. During the review, Liberty identified historic gaps in compliance, which the University both acknowledged to the Department and took timely action to remedy by strengthening its Clery Act compliance program. Since the initiation of the review, the University has been engaged in dialogue with the Department about reaching a timely, efficient, and fair resolution, which would address the past gaps in compliance and support an effective, legally compliant Clery Act compliance program moving forward.
Liberty University engaged the firms Cozen O’Connor and The Healy+ Group early in this process to help facilitate and administer a multi-year review of Clery Act compliance and ensure full candor and cooperation with all of the Department’s requests. This review included full access to campus crime data, requested University records, and institutional statements, policies, and procedures in place to adhere to the Clery Act standards for campus safety.
Throughout the entire process, the University has regularly communicated with the Department to appropriately address each step of the program review. In May 2023, Liberty received a program review report of the Department of Education’s preliminary findings. Liberty submitted an initial response on June 30, 2023, including the results of a comprehensive file review conducted by Healy+, and a supplemental response on September 21, 2023 detailing significant errors, misstatements, and unsupported conclusions in the Department’s preliminary findings.
Based on the extensive information and documentation it provided to the Department, Liberty has every expectation that the Department will carefully evaluate the information and documents and correct the errors in the preliminary program review report.
The University remains committed to working with the Department through this process. The University and Department have a shared interest in a principled, reasonable and fair resolution that reflects accurate fact-finding, supports effective Clery Act compliance, and recognizes the candid and collaborative approach Liberty has taken since the onset of this review. Our request of the Department has been straightforward – that the University be treated in the same manner as similarly situated institutions, and that the Department treat Liberty fairly in accordance with its established precedent.
Liberty University continues to prioritize safety and security for all students, faculty, and staff, and we are dedicated to resourcing and strengthening our programs campus-wide. Since October 2022, we have made significant advancements that include the formation of the Office of Equity and Compliance that encompasses both Title IX and Clery Act compliance; major capital investments in security assets and equipment; along with prevention and awareness trainings and online resources for our University community that promote transparency, accountability, and intervention. Since October 2022, Liberty has provided regular, unsolicited updates to the Department concerning the improvements made to its Title IX and Clery Act programs.
“Liberty University remains fully committed to ensuring compliance in this area is met and maintained and understands the purpose of this review process is ultimately in the greater interest of our students, faculty, and staff. More than that, we recognize the original purpose of the Clery Act is for the health, safety, and overall well-being of our entire University community as we remain steadfast in our mission of Training Champions for Christ.” – Liberty President Dondi Costin
Liberty University remains committed to the integrity of this review process and will respond with factual information concerning the University’s advancement efforts and other critical information at the appropriate time.