College campus crime and safety have always been a big debacle. Recently, Connecticut’s colleges and universities released their annual crime reports, and while some of the statistics may seem shocking, it is still a step up from recent years.
According to the University of Connecticut’s Annual Safety and Fire Report published this year, 24 instances of rape were reported. This is nearly a 37 percent decrease from 2015 and a 44 percent decrease from 2014.
In a statement, UConn’s President Susan Herbst spoke about how the university handles these instances saying:
“We will continue to do the important work of ensuring that our university community is free from all forms of sex-based discrimination and violence, just as we were doing before. This commitment is unwavering.”
Among the other colleges in the state topping the list of number of reported rapes on campus is Wesleyan University, which tied UConn with 24 instances reported this year. However it is up this year from last year – nearly 42 percent.
On Wesleyan’s “Campus Issues FAQ” page, President of the university Michael Roth responded to a question asking about the criticism surrounding how the university deals with sexual assault and Title IX cases stating:
“We are meeting with students and bringing in a consultant to review all our procedures and help us decide if we should use outside personnel to handle accusations of sexual misconduct involving students. In the meantime, staff members are working hard to make sure that the procedures we have are put to best possible use in meeting the needs of our students.”
While these numbers may seem relatively high, they do not completely encapsulate the number of rapes that go unreported to police or campus safety officials.
A 2014 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, on 20 percent of college-age (ages 18-24) females who are students will report their attack.
However, the Connecticut Post reported some local schools are trying new methods to increase campus safety. Fairfield University, Yale, Sacred Heart University, and Central Connecticut State University have all released apps that let students have a closer contact to emergency services.
Kathy Andrews, spokesperson for Trinity College, another institution stepping up how they handle sexual assault, told the Post, “The college has paid particular attention to the incidents that have occurred on campus and our Campus Safety operation uses various methods – education, technology, and crime prevention strategies – to reduce the opportunity for criminal behavior.”
Hopefully with more programs like these, the instances of sexual assault and rape will be less prominent and taboo and more people will be willing to speak up about their experiences.