By Katie Dobbs
The Willamette University Fire Safety and Security Report contains the crime statistics for 2011 through 2013 and was released on Oct. 1, 2014.
The Jean Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to report information regarding crime on and around their campus properties.
The crimes that are reported are only those that occur within a pre-defined geographic area. This includes the main campus, the business and law schools, Bush Park and its adjacent streets, Zena Farm, Willamette’s Portland campus and the Granada, Spain campus.
Recently, mainstream media and the federal government have taken up the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, resulting in changes in reporting procedure and Title IX policy.
“Basically, since the 2011 ‘Dear Colleague’ letter, the federal government Office of Civil Rights has worked with colleges to find a common, consistent way to investigate, collect information about and judicate sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Willamette Spokesman Adam Torgerson said.
These changes are reflected in the number of reports. The number of forcible sexual assaults reported has gone from two in 2009 to 20 in 2013. The increase does not mean there are an increase in assaults, but an increase in reporting.
Many of the offenses on the list have remained consistent for the past several years. From 2009 to 2013, criminal homicide, non-forcible sexual offenses and robbery have not been reported.
However, some of the statistics varied. In 2010, both liquor law violations and drug abuse violations reported dramatic decreases. Liquor law violations dropped from 363 in 2009 to 66 in 2010, and drug abuse violations dropped from 106 in 2009 to 49 in 2010.
These shifts in reporting occurred when Michael Seals was the director of residence life from 2010 to 2012.
“The explanation is not that there was dramatic change in use of alcohol and drugs from one year to the next,” Campus Safety Director Ross Stout said. “The explanation is that there was different management within Residence Life and different emphasis on enforcement in Residence Life, and they are the ones who pass the numbers on to me.”
The statistics of other schools in the area generally match up to those at the University.
Willamette, University of Puget Sound and Lewis & Clark all reported over 250 liquor law violations. Both Linfield and Portland State University reported less than 200.
The reports on drug-related violations show more fluctuation. In the most recent report, Lewis & Clark reported 332 counts of drug violations, compared to Willamette and Linfield, which reported 124 and 37, respectively.
The purpose of these reports is to increase awareness of crime on campus among students and prospective students.
“It is important to keep people informed about crimes on campus so that they can make personal decisions from a well-informed standpoint,” senior physics major Elisa Ahern said.