Liberty University Has Agreed to a $14 Million Fine for Violations Related to Student Safety

Credits: Vox

Liberty University, a prominent Christian school, has agreed to pay a record-breaking $14 million fine for violating the Clery Act. This federal law requires colleges and universities to report crime statistics and provide safety information to students and employees.

The fine is the largest ever imposed under the Clery Act and reflects serious issues with how the university handled crime reporting and its treatment of se*xual assault survivors.

The U.S. Department of Education found that Liberty University’s police department was understaffed and lacked proper oversight, leading to misclassification and underreporting of crimes.

Liberty University (Credits: CNN)

In one case, a se*xual assault report was unfounded because the investigator claimed the victim consented to the act, despite the victim’s statement indicating otherwise.

The university also faced criticism for punishing se*xual assault survivors for violating its student code of conduct, while perpetrators went unpunished.

The Department of Education’s review highlighted a culture of silence at Liberty University, where victims of se*xual assault felt discouraged from reporting due to fears of reprisal.

The university acknowledged past problems and stated its commitment to maintaining campus safety. It also noted significant improvements made since 2022 to comply with the Clery Act.

However, critics, including alumni-led organizations, have called for more transparency and genuine efforts to address the issues. Liberty University’s $14 million fine underscores the importance of campus safety and the need for institutions to prioritize the well-being of their students.

While significant, the fine represents only a fraction of Liberty University’s total operating revenues, indicating that the institution has the financial capacity to address the issues raised.

The case serves as a reminder to other higher education institutions about the importance of compliance with federal laws and the consequences of failing to do so.