MISSOULA – The U. S. Department of Education significantly reduced fines levied against the University of Montana to pay for Clery Act violations.
UM was initially fined $966,614 for failing to comply with reporting crime requirements. The Department of Education said after further review, the department reduced the fine to $395,000.
UM was penalized for crime statistics omissions in the institution’s Annual Security Report for the years 2012 through 2015. UM will pay the fine with monthly payments through January 2024.
In an email message to campus, UM President Seth Bodnar announced the fine amount and a payment plan for the next five years. He also affirmed the institution’s commitment to safety and the procedures already in place.
“It is important to note the errors identified in these past reports have to do with process and the categorization of crimes in the statistics that were submitted,” he wrote. “This is not an issue of the University’s efforts around prevention and response to crime. Our commitment to campus safety is unwavering.”
“The University of Montana, like all other colleges and universities, must maintain a safe campus where all of our students can learn, thrive and grow. It is fundamental to our mission as an institution of higher learning, and we will continue our tireless efforts to ensure a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all.”
UM spokeswoman Paula Short noted the university has made important and significant steps to address its Clery Act compliance.
“The University has instituted changes aimed at ensuring compliance in how it classifies and reports crime statistics. Specifically, a Clery Core Team meets every two weeks to review the campus police crime log and all reported incidents at UM. This is in addition to the UM Police daily review of the campus crime log,” she said.
The current UM’s Annual Security Report can be viewed online.