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Indicator 23: Hate Crime Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions
(Last Updated: March 2018)

Four out of five of the total reported on-campus hate crimes in 2015 were motivated by race, religion, or sexual orientation. Race was the reported motivating bias in 39 percent of hate crimes (339 incidents); religion was the reported motivating bias in 22 percent of hate crimes (187 incidents); and sexual orientation was the reported motivating bias in 19 percent of hate crimes (163 incidents) in 2015.

A 2008 amendment to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act (see Criminal Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions; Indicator 22) 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 (criminal homicide, including murder and negligent manslaughter; 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 2015, there were 860 criminal incidents classified as hate crimes that occurred on the campuses of public and private 2-year and 4-year postsecondary institutions which were reported to police and security agencies (table 23.1). The most common type of hate crime reported by institutions was destruction, damage, and vandalism (363 incidents; hereafter referred to as "vandalism" in this indicator), followed by intimidation (357 incidents), simple assault (79 incidents), larceny (25 incidents), aggravated assault (19 incidents), forcible sex offenses (6 incidents), burglary (4 incidents), robbery (3 incidents), and arson and motor vehicle theft (2 incidents each; figure 23.1). For murder and nonforcible sex offenses, there were no incidents classified as hate crimes in 2015.


Figure 23.1. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime: 2011 through 2015

Figure 23.1. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime: 2011 through 2015

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 A 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 The 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.
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 on-campus guests. Excludes off-campus crimes and arrests even if they involve college students or staff. Arson and motor vehicle theft are not shown in the figure. There was 1 hate-related arson incident reported in 2011, 1 reported in 2014, and 2 reported in 2015; 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, 2011 through 2015.


The distribution of reported on-campus hate crimes in 2015 was similar to the distributions in previous years. Vandalism, intimidation, and simple assault constituted the three most common types of hate crimes reported by institutions in every year from 2011 to 2015. Also similar to 2015, there were no reported incidents of murder and nonforcible sex offenses classified as hate crimes in any year from 2011 to 2014.

Four out of five of the total reported on-campus hate crimes in 2015 were motivated by race, religion, or sexual orientation. Race was the reported motivating bias in 39 percent of hate crimes (339 incidents); religion was the reported motivating bias in 22 percent of hate crimes (187 incidents); and sexual orientation was the reported motivating bias in 19 percent of hate crimes (163 incidents) in 2015. The other one-fifth of hate crimes were motivated by ethnicity (75 incidents), gender (52 incidents), gender identity (34 incidents), and disability (10 incidents).

Similar to the overall pattern, the most frequent categories of motivating bias associated with the three most common types of hate crimes reported in 2015—vandalism, intimidation, and simple assault—were also race, religion, and sexual orientation. Race was the most frequent category of motivating bias associated with all three types of hate crimes, accounting for 42 percent of reported vandalisms classified as hate crimes (151 incidents), 40 percent of reported intimidations (142 incidents), and 49 percent of reported simple assaults (39 incidents; figure 23.2 and table 23.1). Sexual orientation was the second most frequent motivating bias reported for intimidations (21 percent; 74 incidents) and simple assaults (23 percent; 18 incidents). Religion was the second most frequent motivating bias reported for vandalisms (30 percent; 108 incidents).


Figure 23.2. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime and category of bias motivating the crime: 2015

Figure 23.2. Number of on-campus hate crimes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected types of crime and category of bias motivating the crime: 2015

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 A 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 on-campus guests. Excludes off-campus crimes and arrests even if they involve college students or staff.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Campus Safety and Security Reporting System, 2015.


While the number of hate crimes reported in 2015 was highest at 4-year public and 4-year private nonprofit postsecondary institutions (352 and 347 total 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 number of reported hate crimes (143 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 2015 data. For more information: Table 23.1, and http://ope.ed.gov/security/.