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College misses federal deadline, posts crime statistics at prompting of Twitter activist

Mariah Joyce

News Editor On Friday, Oct. 10, Swarthmore College senior Hope Brinn tweeted at The College of Wooster, asking “Where are your updated crime stats?”

The statistics Brinn was referring to are those on sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence, which all colleges that receive federal funding are required to make public by posting them online by Oct. 1 of each year.

This requirement is part of the Campus SaVE (Campus Sexual Violence Elimination) Act, which updates the existing Jeanne Clery Act to “address the violence women face on campus: the highest rates of stalking, the highest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence, and 20-25 percent of female students experiencing rape or attempted rape,” according to the Clery Center for Security on Campus.

The new legislation, introduced by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and House Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) “requires that incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking be disclosed in annual campus crime statistic reports.” This year, colleges are able to use their own definitions of these terms in a transition period of sorts, but starting next year they will be required to switch over to federal definitions of these terms.

Once Brinn notified the College that they were in violation of the law, the statistics were updated the same day. The College tweeted back: “Done! Thanks for the heads up.”

The College’s crime statistics from the past three years can be found at http://www.wooster.edu/students/security/crime/. The posted crime statistics are “a listing of crimes occurring on or near the campus which have been reported to The College of Wooster Office of Security & Protective Services or local police agencies for the past three years as required by the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, now known as The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.”

Crimes are separated by both location of occurrence and, in the case of ‘Sex Offenses’, whether those offenses were forcible or non-forcible.

According to the crime report, in 2013 there were three forcible offenses and zero non-forcible offenses.

Wooster was not the only school to be called out for non-compliance. Brinn has also tweeted at institutions such as Juniata College, Cornell College, Drake University, Mount Mercy University, Kenyon College and Point Park University. Brinn has been contacting these schools on behalf of her parent organization, Know Your IX, which started this campaign to highlight the widespread non-compliance with the new regulations, and because they believe that complying with the paper regulations is “such low hanging fruit,” according to Know Your IX founder Dana Bolger.

Thus far, Brinn feels Know Your IX has been successful, citing the fact that “a number of schools have acknowledged their mistake and made changes to their reports,” including Juniata College, Cornell College and Soka University of America.

Not all schools that have been notified of their non-compliance have been responsive, however. For example, Brinn mentioned Kenyon College as not only being in violation of the Campus SaVE Act, but also refusing to acknowledge that fact.

“Even though it’s obvious on paper that they aren’t following the law (it’s objective),” said Brinn, “they’re insisting that they haven’t done anything wrong at all.”

Kenyon’s Twitter feed stated, “Kenyon will review its 2013 annual security report, posted online on Oct. 1, to ensure its accuracy.” This announcement was sent to students via email on Wednesday, Oct. 15, on the heels of communication with the U.S. Department of Education after Kenyon’s Campus Safety Office reported zero forcible or non-forcible offenses in 2013, in contrast with statistics posted in Kenyon’s online Student Handbook.

“Some schools haven’t admitted fault but have still updated their information such as Point Park University, among others,” said Brinn. “In addition, an organization I work with, SurvJustice, has filed 22 Clery Act complaints against schools that haven’t been compliant. There will be more to come.”

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