A News Bulletin sent on Sept. 30 announced the release of the 2015 statistics for the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, commonly known as the Clery Act. The numbers track various crime statistics, including alcohol and drug referrals, thefts and incidents of sexual assault.
The new numbers show a decrease in the number of alcohol referrals in the last three years, from 216 in 2013 to 118 in 2015. Drug referrals experienced a similar decrease, from 119 in 2013 to 49 in 2015. Burglary has also decreased.
The numbers regarding several sexual assault statistics have gone up. There were seven reported cases of rape in 2015, up from two the year before. Fondling and dating violence saw an increase in well, from one in 2014 to three in 2015 for fondling, and one to four for dating violence.
President Sean Decatur said the increase could be the result of students becoming more willing to report incidents, rather than a rise in crime frequency.
Sexual Misconduct Advisor Haley Shipley ’17 agreed that the statistics might indicate an increase in reporting. “Knowing that the numbers are higher means more people are comfortable reporting,,” Shipley said. “Realistically, that number will never be zero — at least, not until as a society we change.”
Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes believes that the Clery numbers can help increase awareness for students and effectiveness in education about issues of sexual misconduct for the College. “Do I think there are more incidents happening? No,” Hughes said. “I think that this is a direct reflection of what I imagine the government’s goal to be in requiring colleges and universities to be doing more education on Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act … that students then say ‘Wait, so that behavior, that’s actually a crime? That’s a problem and I should have resources.’”
Hughes considers the Clery numbers as an important part of seeing the picture of sexual assault prevalence on campus, but believes Kenyon’s numbers from the HEDS Consortium Campus Climate survey in 2015 — which relies on self-reporting to collect data on sexual assault — those in the student handbook might be a better indicator of sexual assault on campus. (HEDS is an acronym for the Higher Education Data Sharing.) She believes other numbers are more accurate partially because the Clery Act data represents a calendar year rather than a school year, making trends hard to track.
Hughes believes the Clery Act statistics have merit particularly for prospective students. “Clery, versus student handbook numbers, can be informative especially when comparing colleges and universities, because you know that the definition and the standard is the same,” Hughes said. “That is a true apple-to-apple comparison.”
The full Clery report is available on the Kenyon website and covers the last three years.