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Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)
Postsecondary Education

Hate Crime Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions

Last Updated: May 2021
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This indicator also appears under School Crime and Safety.

Approximately 80 percent of the total reported on-campus hate crimes in 2018 were motivated by race, sexual orientation, or religion. Race was the motivating bias in 43 percent of reported hate crimes (347 incidents); sexual orientation was the motivating bias in 22 percent of reported hate crimes (176 incidents); and religion was the motivating bias in 16 percent of reported hate crimes (128 incidents).

A 2008 amendment to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (see Criminal Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions) requires postsecondary institutions to report hate crime incidents. A hate crime is a criminal offense that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the perpetrator’s bias against the victim(s) based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. In addition to reporting data on hate-related incidents for the seven types of crimes already specified in the Clery Act—murder, sex offenses (forcible and nonforcible), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson—the 2008 amendment to the Clery Act requires campuses to report hate-related incidents for four additional types of crimes: simple assault; larceny; intimidation; and destruction, damage, and vandalism.

Select a subgroup characteristic from drop-down menu below to view relevant text and figures.

Figure 1. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime: 2010, 2017, and 2018
Figure 1. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime: 2010, 2017, and 2018

1 Willfully or maliciously destroying, damaging, defacing, or otherwise injuring real or personal property without the consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it.

2 Placing another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.

3 Physical attack by one person upon another where neither the offender displays a weapon nor the victim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe laceration, or loss of consciousness.

4 Attack upon a person for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.

5 Unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession of another.

6 Any sexual act directed against another person forcibly and/or against that person's will.

7 Unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.

8 Taking or attempting to take anything of value using actual or threatened force or violence.

9 Willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle, or personal property of another.

10 Excludes suicides, fetal deaths, traffic fatalities, accidental deaths, and justifiable homicide (such as the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty).

11 Theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.

NOTE: Data are for degree-granting institutions, which are institutions that grant associate’s or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Some institutions that report Clery Act data—specifically, non-degree-granting institutions and institutions outside of the 50 states and the District of Columbia—are excluded. A hate crime is a criminal offense that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the perpetrator’s bias against a group of people based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Includes on-campus incidents involving students, staff, and guests. Excludes off-campus crimes and arrests even if they involve students or staff.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Campus Safety and Security Reporting System, 2010, 2017, and 2018. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 329.30.

In 2018, of the criminal incidents that occurred on the campuses of postsecondary institutions and were reported to police or security agencies, 814 incidents were classified as hate crimes. The three most common types of hate crimes reported by institutions were destruction, damage, and vandalism (345 incidents; hereafter referred to as “vandalism” in this indicator), intimidation (337 incidents), and simple assault (75 incidents). Other reported hate crimes included aggravated assault (26 incidents), larceny (13 incidents), forcible sex offenses (8 incidents), burglary (7 incidents), and robbery (3 incidents). There were no reported incidents of arson, motor vehicle theft, murder, or nonforcible sex offenses classified as hate crimes in 2018. [Other]
The distribution of reported on-campus hate crimes in 2018 was similar to the distributions in previous years. For instance, vandalism, intimidation, and simple assault constituted the three most common types of hate crimes reported by institutions in every year from 2010 to 2018. [Time series ]
Figure 2. Number of selected types of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by category of bias motivating the crime: 2018
Figure 2. Number of selected types of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by category of bias motivating the crime: 2018

1 Willfully or maliciously destroying, damaging, defacing, or otherwise injuring real or personal property without the consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it.

2 Placing another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.

3 Physical attack by one person upon another where neither the offender displays a weapon nor the victim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe laceration, or loss of consciousness.

NOTE: Data are for degree-granting institutions, which are institutions that grant associate’s or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Some institutions that report Clery Act data—specifically, non-degree-granting institutions and institutions outside of the 50 states and the District of Columbia—are excluded. A hate crime is a criminal offense that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the perpetrator’s bias against a group of people based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Includes on-campus incidents involving students, staff, and guests. Excludes off-campus crimes and arrests even if they involve students or staff.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Campus Safety and Security Reporting System, 2018. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 329.30.

Race, sexual orientation, and religion were the top three categories of motivating bias associated with hate crimes at postsecondary institutions in 2018. Approximately 80 percent of the total reported on-campus hate crimes in 2018 were motivated by these three categories of bias. Race was the motivating bias in 43 percent of reported hate crimes (347 incidents),1 while an additional 11 percent (88 incidents) were motivated by ethnicity.2 Sexual orientation was the motivating bias in 22 percent of reported hate crimes (176 incidents); and religion was the motivating bias in 16 percent of reported hate crimes (128 incidents) in 2018. The other 9 percent of reported hate crimes were motivated by gender (39 incidents),3 gender identity (33 incidents),4 and disability (3 incidents). [Other]
Similar to the overall pattern, race, sexual orientation, and religion were also the top three categories of motivating bias associated with the three most common types of hate crimes reported in 2018—vandalism, intimidation, and simple assault. Race accounted for 39 percent of reported vandalisms classified as hate crimes (135 incidents), 47 percent of reported intimidations (159 incidents), and 37 percent of reported simple assaults (28 incidents). The second most frequent motivating bias for these three types of reported hate crimes was sexual orientation, which accounted for 22 percent of reported vandalisms (76 incidents), 20 percent of reported intimidations (66 incidents), and 29 percent of reported simple assaults (22 incidents). Religion was the third most frequent motivating bias for reported vandalisms (20 percent; 70 incidents), reported intimidations (12 percent; 42 incidents), and reported simple assaults (13 percent; 10 incidents). [Other]
Across different types of institutions, the total number of hate crimes reported in 2018 was highest at 4-year public and 4-year private nonprofit postsecondary institutions (362 and 320 incidents, respectively). To some extent, this reflects their larger enrollment size and number of students living on campus. However, 4-year private nonprofit institutions enrolled less than half as many students as 4-year public institutions in fall 2018 (3.5 million vs. 7.4 million; see Digest of Education Statistics 2019 for details about college enrollment), but had nearly 90 percent as many reported hated crimes. Public 2-year institutions, which also enrolled a large number of students (3.1 million), reported 121 hate crimes. The most commonly reported categories of motivating bias were similar across these types of postsecondary institutions. [Level of institution ] [Control of institution]

1 The reported total of 347 incidents also includes two robberies that were motivated by race, which were not shown separately in the reference table.

2 The reported total of 88 incidents also includes one robbery that was motivated by ethnicity, which was not shown separately in the reference table.

3 Defined for the respondents as a “preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a person or group of persons based on their actual or perceived gender, e.g., male or female.”

4 Defined for the respondents as a “preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a person or group of persons based on their actual or perceived gender identity, e.g., bias against transgender or gender non-conforming individuals. Gender non-conforming describes a person who does not conform to the gender-based expectations of society, e.g., a woman dressed in traditionally male clothing or a man wearing makeup. A gender non-conforming person may or may not be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person but may be perceived as such.”

Supplemental Information

Table 329.30 (Digest 2020): On-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by level and control of institution, type of crime, and category of bias motivating the crime: Selected years, 2010 through 2018;
Table 307.10 (Digest 2019): Full-time-equivalent fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by control and level of institution: 1967 through 2029
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Previous versions of this indicator available in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports.
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Suggested Citation

National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Hate Crime Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved [date], from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/a22.