New York, NY, August 14, 2008 … Calling it an "important step forward," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) hailed new legislation that will give students and parents a more complete picture about campus safety. The Higher Education Opportunity Act, signed into law today by President George W. Bush, mandates improved hate crime data collection and reporting at colleges and universities.
Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The enactment of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which includes an important new campus hate crime data collection mandate, is an important step forward. Schools and colleges have been among the most frequent sites for hate violence – the third most-frequent location in 2006, according to the FBI.
This simple but important change in the law has been a top policy priority for the League for many years. ADL stands ready to assist colleges and universities in providing education and training for campus law enforcement officials on a range of hate crime and extremism issues.
In 1998, in an effort to increase awareness of hate violence on college campuses, Congress amended the Higher Education Act to require all colleges and universities to collect and report hate crime statistics to the Department of Education. The Department utilized the FBI's broad definition of hate crime developed under the 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act, but their data collection mandate included fewer types of crimes. This resulted in substantial underreporting of hate crime on campus – and data that is inconsistent with the FBI's campus hate crime data.
The new law is designed to address these discrepancies by making the Department of Education hate crime data collection effort parallel with that of the FBI and the Department of Justice.
In March 2008, ADL coordinated a letter of support for the change that was signed by 82 organizations, including the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The League expressed appreciation to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) for his leadership and persistence in securing passage of these important provisions.