By Caitlin Shannon
Each year the Department of Public Safety compiles and releases an Annual Security Report that is posted on their website. This ASR is mandated for every college and university by the federal government and reports on a range of crimes from manslaughter to sexual assault to arson and theft. The statistics are reported on the Department of Public Safety’s website at drew.edu/Safety/statistics.
Except that when you get to this page you have to scroll through more than 50 headings with sizeable paragraphs underneath and a regurgitation of the policies of the Public Safety Department before you get to any actual statistics. This would be slightly less annoying if the information that you had to scroll through wasn’t just a repeat of the information from all over the rest of the site. When clicking on the tab that says “Annual Security Report/Clery Statistics” it’s expected that that information would be the main focus of the page. Instead, it seems that the site is intentionally set up to deter people from looking at the actual statistics. It truly takes almost thirty seconds to scroll through all of the writing and get to the statistics.
Once scrolling through the seemingly endless introductory writing you finally get to the statistics themselves. The data table shows data from the past three years which means right now we can look at data from 2014, 2015 and 2016. The crimes/incidents on this report that are particularly important to look at are the following:
- Sex Offense: Rape – 2016: 7, 2015: 7
- Sex Offenses: Fondling- 2016: 7, 2015: 1
- Liquor Law Violations Requiring Disciplinary Actions- 2016: 223, 2015: 141
- Domestic Violence – 2016: 6, 2015: 1
- Dating Violence – 2016: 4, 2015: 1
These statistics are valuable to our community and important for everyone to be aware of, otherwise it wouldn’t be federally mandated by the Campus Security Act. Not only are these results surprising and a bit disheartening, but the manner in which they have been published are not consistent with the importance of these statistics.
Bizarrely, the statistics we are discussing as “sexual assault” are not labeled as such in the report. “Fondling” is the term used, an old-fashioned and minimizing way to describe the awful crime. Is this language being used to disguise the nature of the assaults? Or is the administration just outdated?
Almost all of these categories have seen an increase (or a stagnation) from previous years. And yet we have heard nothing about it. First Year orientation devotes so much time to talking about consent, rape culture and Title IX, but even so we see an increase in the types of incidents that these programs are supposed to prevent.
Why haven’t we seen more programming done to not only educate people about these facts but to try and solve the obvious problem that we (and many other colleges and universities) seem to have with rape, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence? We’ve all heard the scary statistics that 11.2 percent of college students and 19 percent of college-aged women will be raped or sexually assaulted during their college years. So, why aren’t we doing more to combat this? Also, are those 7 rapists still walking around Drew’s campus? Why isn’t this something we know?
I feel like seeing an increase in these sorts of violence, particularly rape, sexual assault and domestic violence, should have sparked some sort of action on part of the university as a whole, or at the very least by the student body. We need to figure out what we can do as a university to stop this from happening, but the first step in that process is being informed on the facts.
Caitlin is a junior Music major.
Graphic by David Giacomini