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Crime Statistics show decline in sexual assaults reported

By Ryan Spencer

Section: News

October 6, 2017

Reported cases of sexual assault and drug abuse are down compared to last year, according to annual crime statistics released by the university on Friday in accordance with the federally mandated Clery Act.

“Our campus crime statistics are relatively consistent and if numbers decrease it may be attributed to the number of campus education resources available to the Community,” said Ed Callahan, Director of Public Safety, in a statement to The Brandeis Hoot.

Six rapes were reported in 2016, all occurring on campus, compared to 17 reported rapes in 2015 and nine in 2014. One hate crime, a simple assault on a religious basis, took place in 2016, according to the safety report. Instances of drug abuse violations also declined. In 2015, 102 cases of drug abuse violation were referred for disciplinary action and in 2016, 59 cases were referred for disciplinary action and one arrest was made.

Rates of other crimes remained relatively consistent with two cases of fondling and one case of domestic violence in 2016, the same as in 2015. From 2015 to 2016, cases of burglary dropped from six to three and cases of stalking and motor vehicle theft each rose from zero to one.

The year 2016 saw 210 liquor law violations, all occurring in student housing, a slight increase from the 189 violations in 2015 and 199 in 2014. No fires occurred in residence halls in 2016, a slight decline the from one fire in 2015 and five in 2014. In 2016, one fire evacuation drill was held at each residence hall on campus.

Fire drills at the start of the this academic year have led to student complaints. University personnel have entered student residences as part of these drills and at times confiscated items or substances which were in violation of Brandeis policy.

According to section 9.4 of Rights and Responsibilities, “The university reserves the right to inspect rooms and perform maintenance at reasonable times, and to enter rooms at any time in case of emergency, in response to a complaint of disturbance or when there is reason to believe that a violation of University policy is occurring within the room.”

Section 8.1 which discusses fire alarms and drills makes no mention of university personnel entering rooms during fire drills.
“I think that Rights and Responsibilities doesn’t make the conditions under which student rooms can be entered into clear enough to students,” said Student Union President Jacob Edelman ’19 in an interview with The Hoot.

The Clery Report outlines that fire drills are conducted in all campus residence hall and that “the drills are conducted by the area coordinators, community advisors, The Department of Facility Services, Environmental Health and Safety Department and the Department of Public Safety.”

The Student Union is working with Timothy Touchette, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, to add clarity to Rights and Responsibilities about the entry of student residences during fire drills, according to Edelman.

In the future, students may be warned via email that fire drills are planned, according to Edelman. However, to make the drills realistic, the exact dates and times would not be provided.

In an email to the students, faculty and staff last Friday, Callahan linked the 73-page Clery Report. In addition to crime and fire statistics, the report details dozens of Brandeis policies, evacuation and notification procedures and advises best practices to prevent theft and other crimes.

The 2016 Clery report is publicly available on the Brandeis website, with a link to the report on the Public Safety homepage. Last year, the email linked to the Public Safety homepage though the report was located in a specific tab.

Crime statistics occurred on page 61 of the report and fire statistics were found on pages 63, 68, 69 and 70.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires colleges and universities that receive federal funding to provide students and employees with an annual security report and outlines requirements for the report, according to the Clery Center website.

Callahan’s email also linked students to the City of Waltham sex offender registry, found on the city’s website.

Bentley University, located in the same city as Brandeis, reported two cases of rape and seven cases of stalking in 2016 in their Clery report. Bentley has approximately 4,200 undergraduate students compared to Brandeis’ 3,600 undergraduate students, according to statistics found on both universities’ home pages.

Bentley listed four fires in 2016, three of which were intentional, according to the university’s report.

Boston College, with 14,000 enrolled students, reported 27 cases of rape and Harvard University, with 6,700 undergrad students, reported 28 cases of rape in 2016.

Positions at the Office of Prevention Services (OPS) are in flux. Sheila McMahon, the Director of Sexual Assault Services and Prevention, and Julia Rickey, the Survivor Advocate and Education Specialist, left OPS over the summer. The Rape Crisis Center is currently staffed by Purnima Sahgal, Interim Survivor Advocate, and Trish Glover, Trauma Therapist at the Brandeis Counseling Center. Several members of OPS have also stepped up during this interim period while the university seeks replacements for McMahon and Rickey. Carrie Robertson has been serving as the Interim Program Manager and Elba Valerio, a previous employee of the Intercultural Center, is acting as an Interim Program Manager in an administrative capacity.

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