Kean’s Clery Act crime stats show increases in 2016

By Sara Ridgway | Published Oct. 21, 2017image_preview

The Kean University 2017-2018 Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report was released to the public in late September of 2017, with the data revealing some changes in two areas of on-campus crime — sex offenses and liquor law violations.

The report consists of information regarding the student code of conduct, safety precautions, student resources and the statistics for the past three years of on-campus crimes in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act.

The Clery Act was signed into federal law in 1990 by President George Bush in response to the lobbying eff orts of the parents of Jeanne Clery, a student at LeHigh University who was murdered by a fellow student in 1986 in her dorm room. Before the Clery Act, colleges and universities were not held accountable for monitoring campus crime and standards for reporting crime statistics were not uniform.

As per the, the act is defined as “a consumer protection law.” The purpose is to provide a transparent view of campus crime policy and coinciding statistics.

“In order to comply with Clery Act requirements,” the website states, “colleges and universities must understand what the law entails, where their responsibilities lie, and what they can do to actively foster campus safety.”

Kean’s 2017 report provides statistics for crimes coinciding with the Clery Act for Kean University’s main campus in Union, Kean Ocean and Wenzhou-Kean University campuses for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 school years.

Several categories of Clery crime statistics for Kean’s main campus in Union have changed in 2016 as compared to 2015. Two areas of crime that stand out are sex offenses, specifically rape, and number of persons referred for campus disciplinary action in regards to liquor law violations.

In 2015 there were four rapes reported. In 2016 that number increased to seven reported incidents.

Kean University Director of Media Relations, Margaret McCorry provided that in March of 2015, the Federal Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act took into effect, thus imposing new obligations on educational institutions in regards to alleged sexual assault reporting.

“Specifically, in addition to incidents reported directly to police, Campus safety Authorities must report sexual misconduct incidents for purposes of the Annual Security Report, which is required under federal legislation known as the Clery Act ,” McCorry said.

Under the Clery Act, CSA’s are defined as individuals other than University Police who are also held responsible for campus security.

Faculty and staff , student group leaders, faculty advisors and resident assistants, among others, are considered Campus Security Authorities and are required to submit a CSA Form upon becoming aware of an alleged incidence of sexual assault, regardless of when it had occurred.

The CSA Form only provides statistical information and does not include personally identifiable information in appropriate circumstances as per McCorry.
“The increase in the statistics for 2016 reflects incidents reported for the first time through the Campus Security Authority Form,” McCorry said.

She specified that there were four sexual assaults reported directly to University Police by victims in 2015 and 2016, but three incidents were reported through CSA Forms in 2016, leading to the total of seven reported rapes.

McCorry added that the data for 2016 reflects when the incidents were reported, not when the incident occurred. Therefore, of the seven sexual assault cases reported in the 2016 calendar year, two occurred in 2016 and one in both 2015 and 2013, while the dates of the other incidents were not specified.

“The cases reported directly to the police may be investigated and sent to the county prosecutor’s office, depending on the preference of the victim,” McCorry said. “Cases reported on the CSA Forms do not include victims’ names and are not meant to be investigated.”

No matter what channel is used for reporting alleged sexual assault, all those reporting as well as those accused of partaking in the alleged incidents of sexual assault are offered accommodations and support services.

For the Union campus in terms of liquor law violations, the number of persons referred for campus disciplinary action increased from 112 to 115 between 2014 and 2015 while dropping to 16 in 2016.

The drastic decrease in numbers from 2015 to 2016 is accounted for by Kean University’s clarification of Clery requirements for reporting liquor law violations.

“University Police now report only those incidents that violate state and local law,” McCorry said. “In the past, the University was including cases that violated University administrative policies or the University code of conduct.”

In other words, the Clery Act only requires reporting liquor violations that violate state or local laws, not Kean University specific policies.

“You can think of it this way — a 21-year-old is allowed to drink under the law, but is not allowed to drink in the residence halls,” McCorry said. “Kean had been reporting those cases, which are not Clery reportable offenses.”

As for Kean Ocean, there were two hate crimes committed in both 2015 and 2016. In 2015 there were two incidents of vandalism, indicating a racial bias. And in 2016 there were two incidents of simple assault based on sexual orientation and intimidation based on a racial bias.

Also for the Ocean campus, the number of persons referred for campus disciplinary action in regards to liquor law violations was one in 2014, and two in both 2015 and 2016.

There were zero crimes reported for the Wenzhou-Kean University campus in all categories for 2014 through 2016. McCorry stated that while Wenzhou-Kean University is responsible for reporting on-campus crimes that correlate with the Clery Act, she confirmed that “WKU did not experience any of the Clery reportable crimes.”

To read the Kean University 2017-2018 Annual Campus Security & Fire Safety Report in its entirety, visit the Kean University website. Under the “Campus Life” tab, choose “Policies” to access the report

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