Department of Education Clery Act Updates

Help IOA Track Campus Security Authorities Audits

By Jessica Kuchta-Miller, IOA Government & Policy Committee Co-Chair & Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director

Calling all Higher-Education Ombuds,

We are writing to see if you are aware of any federal Department of Education audits of your institution or other colleges or universities in which the Department or its consultants are asserting that ombuds should be considered Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) under the Clery Act and regulations.

In 2020, The Department of Education rescinded the guidance from the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting stating that—in most cases—a university ombuds should be considered a CSA. (We encourage you to take a moment to re-read the IOA Government & Policy Committee (GPC) Memorandum on this topic.)

In its latest guidance, the Department of Education reiterated that the decision to designate ombuds as CSAs remained in the reasonable discretion of each university, but the regulatory standard for designation as a CSA has not changed. (Read the full announcement and the new guidance.) The critical concern for deciding this issue is whether an ombuds has significant responsibility for student or campus activities, as an ombuds program that adheres to IOA Standards of Practice does not meet this standard.

It is important that IOA is able to engage promptly with the Department of Education if audits are currently taking the position that ombuds should be considered CSAs. We are asking you and all IOA Higher Education Sector members to please email the chair of the GPC if you become aware of any such audits.

Email the GPC Chair

We are hopeful that there will be no need to battle over this issue again, but it is important that IOA know promptly if the Department of Education is pressuring universities and colleges to designate ombuds as CSAs.  

Thank you for your help,

Jessica Kuchta-MillerJessica Kuchta-Miller
IOA Government & Policy Committee Chair



Ellen Miller
IOA Executive Director

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