Constance Clery

Constance Clery | Co-founder & Chairwoman Emerita
Constance (Connie) Benjamin Clery, along with her husband Howard K. Clery, Jr., changed the face of crime safety at colleges and universities across the United States after the 1986 brutal on-campus rape and murder of their only daughter, Jeanne, at Lehigh University by a fellow student whom she did not know.

The Clerys discovered a history of violent crime on the campus and a long record of problems with propped-open doors of the type Jeanne’s killer had used to gain access to her residence hall room. After the killer was convicted of murder, and a civil lawsuit against Lehigh was settled, the Clerys wanted to make sure that no other family had to endure the tragedy they had. 

Connie and Howard co-founded the nonprofit organization Security On Campus, Inc. (now Clery Center) in 1987. They secured passage of campus crime reporting legislation, first in their home state of Pennsylvania, then in a dozen other states. Connie soon realized that state-by-state legislation would be time-consuming and difficult, and so pushed efforts to the federal level. Her perseverance resulted in the 1990 passage of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act—that is now known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or more simply, the Clery Act. As of 2008, the Clerys’ leadership has led to the passage of a total of 28 state and 6 federal laws designed to improve campus safety. Connie was responsible for running Clery Center until 2003 and continues to serve as Chairwoman Emerita of the board.

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