The Brown and White can confirm that 15 months later, Lehigh remains under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for compliance with the Clery Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
After filing a Freedom of Information Act Request in June seeking “Any and all updated documentation to the Department of Education’s probe into Lehigh University’s (private university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) compliance with the Clery Act,” The Brown and White received a response from the Office of the Secretary within the U.S. Department of Education that records cannot be shared.
“These records are being withheld in full … under FOIA Exemption 7(a) and 7(c) as they are part of an ongoing investigation and pertain to individual students,” the letter said.
The Brown and White received over 1,400 redacted pages associated with the investigation.
The university became aware it was under review on June 10, 2020, in a letter addressed to former President John Simon. The letter requested access to records, staff and students so that a crime program review could occur.
“The Department has received complaints that allege the University engaged in a pattern of conduct that resulted in serious violations of the Clery Act,” the letter to Simon said.
The Clery Act is named after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh student who was raped and murdered in her Lower Centennials dorm room in 1986 by another Lehigh student, Joseph Henry.
In the aftermath of Clery’s murder her parented founded the Clery Center for Security on Campus, a nonprofit working to create safer campuses. The ultimate goal was to create safer environments for students and encourage more transparent crime reporting. Within a few years after the organization started, Congress approved the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, now known as the Clery Act.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal statute requiring colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information.”
In June 2020 The Brown and White verified two complaints against Lehigh that were sent to the Clery Division of the Department of Education, however, there is no confirmation these complaints are the reason for the current review.
The complaints were filed by Monica Miller, an associate professor of religion studies and Susan Magaziner, ‘77, a third party complainant.
The university’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations against James Peterson, a former Lehigh professor, were referenced in both complaints and the letter Lehigh received from the Department of Education launching the probe.
“We are in compliance with requests from the Department of Education and are open to any recommendations that may result from the review process,” Lori Friedman, director of media relations said.