Colleges will soon report stalking, date violence
Universities around the country will soon be required to disclose the number of stalking and domestic or dating violence cases reported to the school as part of the Campus SaVE Act, which amends the Clery Act and will likely cause revisions in campus security and prevention policies after being signed into law last March by President Barack Obama.
The U.S. Department of Education is drafting regulations for how campuses should implement these changes.
The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to publish campus security policies and crime statistics, maintain a daily crime log, provide timely warnings about ongoing threats to students and campus employees and report hate crime statistics.
It applies to any higher education institution that receives Title IV funding such as Pell Grants, federal work study programs and Perkins loans.
Universities must release an annual security report that includes statistics on murder, manslaughter, sexual offenses, robbery, assault, and drug or alcohol offenses reported on campus, nearby public property and noncampus properties such as fraternity and sorority houses.
UNC Title IX Coordinator Howard Kallem said universities need to provide students with the information and resources necessary to inform them on sexual assault and how to file a complaint.
One in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while in college, according to a White House report. Only 12 percent of student victims report the sexual assault to law enforcement.
But Kallem said at UNC, student reports of sexual assault have been on the rise in the last few months.
“We have a low number of reported sexual assaults, and for the last eight to 10 months under Interim Title IX Coordinator Christi Hurt, the numbers have started to go up, which is a good sign,” he said.
Under the Clery Act, the statistics are based on crimes reported to local law enforcement or “campus security authorities,” such as campus police, resident advisers and the campus health center.
Last fall, the University started to require RAs to report any claims of sexual assault that a student confides to them, even if they are not acting in their RA capacity.
Andrea Pino, a former RA and assault survivor advocate, said the policy has some benefits, but that it could deter students from confiding in RAs, especially if the student does not want to report the incident.
“I think there should be more public consciousness that if you speak to someone, then that person may be obligated to report it,” she said.
Kallem said the University is considering using Maxient, a database service that would allow for greater communication and access to data between departments involved in reporting and investigating sexual assaults.
Crimes don’t get reported if they’re deemed “unfounded” — found false or lacking enough information to proceed. Randy Young, spokesman for UNC’s Department of Public Safety, said there have been five sexual assault cases deemed unfounded in the past five years. The most recent unfounded sexual assault was in April 2013, the first since 2011.
UNC currently faces two investigations by the DOE based on former administrator Melinda Manning’s accusation that she was pressured by the University to underreport sexual assault cases as well as complaints that UNC creates a hostile environment for students reporting sexual assault.
DOE investigators were on campus last week looking into potential Clery Act violations by the University.
As a response to these investigations, the University convened a sexual assault task force to revise UNC’s policies and procedures this past summer. The task force is expected to finish drafting the new policies this spring.