The U.S. Department of Education released compiled campus crime reports for 2014 Thursday, showing low crime overall but a sharp increase in reports of forcible sexual assault at California State University, Stanislaus.
Seven rapes were reported in 2014, up from two the year before and one in 2012, which the university said reflects a campus campaign to increase reporting. All occurred in dorms, according to the federal report.
“Even one sexual assault is too many, but the campus community has worked hard to create a culture that empowers people to be safe and encourages victims to come forward,” said Andy Roy, the university’s chief of police. “I’m very impressed with the way the college community has taken a stand this year. This big push extends to everyone.”
Before, when there weren’t reports, it didn’t mean it wasn’t happening.
Sarah Beal, Haven Women’s Center
He cited the student-led Warrior Watch program, an anti-violence video produced by and featuring athletes, and the hiring of a confidential victim advocate this past year among efforts to increase awareness and reporting of sexual violence. The university’s Title IX compliance officer meets with students to discuss sexual violence, stalking, domestic violence or other concerns.
“Everyone is kind of waking up about what’s going on and doing their part,” said Sarah Beal of the Haven Women’s Center.
Since December, Beal has been the victim advocate on campus, providing confidential resources as someone not mandated to make campus reports. “My primary role is to support the student (victims) and inform them of their choices,” she said.
Beal called the rise in sexual assault reports a positive.
“People are feeling empowered to come forward and report,” she said, adding 1 in 4 women experiences a sexual assault during their college years. “Before, when there weren’t reports, it didn’t mean it wasn’t happening.
“I think it’s great to talk about ways to be safe at parties, implement the buddy system, but it’s really a cultural issue.”
To change that culture systemwide, the university is part of a campaign promoting what is called affirmative consent.
“It’s beyond ‘No means no.’ It’s ‘Yes means yes.’ Both people need to know this is a willing consent,” Roy said.
It’s beyond a police issue anymore. I see this on all 23 campuses, the way everyone is speaking about these issues.
Andy Roy, chief of CSU Stanislaus police
Training in defense against rape has expanded, and the university now has a course for men as well, said Roy. He declined to say if any of the 2014 reports were made by a male, citing confidentiality laws.
Cheri Silveira, a police officer for the university, said the Rape Aggressive Defense course she teaches is designed to give women self-defense skills. The course for men focuses on resisting aggression, she said.
While she trains students to be ready for the worst, she said, most of her job involves giving common-sense safety and anti-theft information.
“I feel like a teacher sometimes,” Silveira said, with many of the young adults experiencing their first time away from home.
“Stanislaus State, with more than 10,000 members in our campus community, remains a very safe campus,” Roy said. “The data bear that out, but even more important, the attitudes and helpfulness of our campus community bear that out.”
What’s great about the campus community is we’re really coming together as a team to address this.
Sarah Beal, Haven Women’s Center
There were no robberies in 2014, compared with two in 2013, and no aggravated assaults in 2014, compared with one in 2013. There were two motor vehicle thefts, down from four. Burglaries, however, rose from three to four.
The one other category that rose sharply was referrals for liquor law violations. From 69 in 2013, the number rose to 91 referrals in 2014, about two-thirds of which were in dorms. Those are incidents that do not rise to the need for police intervention, Roy said. There were only two arrests on liquor-related charges. Drug violations dropped to one, with no referrals for suspected use in 2014.
At the University of California, Merced, alcohol referrals rose to 70 in 2014 from 41 the previous year. Drug abuse violations rose slightly to 28 in 2014. The Merced campus had one rape reported on campus grounds, down from three in 2013. However, it reported four stalking incidents, up from one the year before.
Community colleges and private colleges also must report incidents on campus. At Modesto Junior College, property crimes were down, but violent crime rose in 2014. The campus reported three forcible sexual assaults, four aggravated assaults, one robbery and an incident of dating violence.
The CSU Stanislaus Campus Security Report is available on the university website. The Modesto Junior College report is also available. Campus Security Reports from other institutions can be found at ope.ed.gov/security.