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Indicator 22: Hate Crime Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions
(Last Updated: April 2019)

Three-fourths of the total reported on-campus hate crimes in 2016 were motivated by race, religion, or sexual orientation. Race was the reported motivating bias in 38 percent of hate crimes (406 incidents); religion was the reported motivating bias in 21 percent of hate crimes (221 incidents); and sexual orientation was the reported motivating bias in 17 percent of hate crimes (183 incidents) in 2016.

A 2008 amendment to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act (see Indicator 21, 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 existing seven types of crimes—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 on four additional types of crimes: simple assault; larceny; intimidation; and destruction, damage, and vandalism.

In 2016, there were 1,070 criminal incidents classified as hate crimes on the campuses of postsecondary institutions that were reported to police and security agencies (table 22.1). The most common type of hate crime reported by institutions was destruction, damage, and vandalism (464 incidents; hereafter referred to as “vandalism” in this indicator), followed by intimidation (421 incidents), simple assault (99 incidents), larceny and aggravated assault (34 incidents each), forcible sex offenses (8 incidents), burglary (6 incidents), and robbery and arson (2 incidents each; figure 22.1 and table 22.1). For murder, nonforcible sex offenses, and motor vehicle theft, there were no incidents classified as hate crimes in 2016.


Figure 22.1. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime: 2010, 2015, and 2016

Figure 22.1. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime: 2010, 2015, and 2016

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 Unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession of another.
5 Attack upon a person for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.
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.
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. Motor vehicle theft is not shown in the figure. There were 2 hate-related motor vehicle thefts reported in 2015.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Campus Safety and Security Reporting System, 2010, 2015, and 2016.


The distribution of reported on-campus hate crimes in 2016 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 2016. Also similar to 2016, there were no reported incidents of murder and nonforcible sex offenses classified as hate crimes in any year from 2010 to 2015 and no reported incidents of motor vehicle theft classified as hate crimes in any year from 2010 to 2014.

About three-fourths of the total reported on-campus hate crimes in 2016 were motivated by race, religion, or sexual orientation. Race was the reported motivating bias in 38 percent of hate crimes (406 incidents); religion was the reported motivating bias in 21 percent of hate crimes (221 incidents); and sexual orientation was the reported motivating bias in 17 percent of hate crimes (183 incidents) in 2016. The other one-fourth of hate crimes were motivated by ethnicity (114 incidents), gender (87 incidents), gender identity (49 incidents), and disability (10 incidents).

Similar to the overall pattern, race was also the most frequent category of motivating bias associated with the three most common types of hate crimes reported in 2016—vandalism, intimidation, and simple assault. Race accounted for 38 percent of reported vandalisms classified as hate crimes (174 incidents), 40 percent of reported intimidations (167 incidents), and 42 percent of reported simple assaults (42 incidents; figure 22.2 and table 22.1). Sexual orientation was the second-most frequent motivating bias reported for intimidations (20 percent; 84 incidents) and simple assaults (17 percent; 17 incidents). Religion was the second-most frequent motivating bias reported for vandalisms (29 percent; 136 incidents). The third-most frequent motivating bias reported for vandalisms was sexual orientation (14 percent; 66 incidents) and for intimidations was religion (16 percent; 66 incidents), while the third-most frequent motivating bias reported for simple assaults was ethnicity (14 percent; 14 incidents).


Figure 22.2. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime and category of bias motivating the crime: 2016

Figure 22.2. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime and category of bias motivating the crime: 2016

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, 2016.


Across different types of institutions, the total number of hate crimes reported in 2016 was highest at 4-year public and 4-year private nonprofit postsecondary institutions (483 and 395 incidents, respectively); to some extent, this reflects their larger enrollment size and number of students living on campus. Public 2-year institutions, which also enroll a large number of students, had the third-highest total number of reported hate crimes (178 incidents). The frequency of crimes and the most commonly reported categories of motivating bias were similar across these types of postsecondary institutions.


This indicator has been updated to include 2016 data. For more information: Table 22.1, and https://ope.ed.gov/security/.