Campus rape and the Clery Act: Are local colleges violating the law?
*Editor’s note: Yes! Weekly hopes this article will convince all Triad colleges and universities to be uniformly transparent in complying with the Clery Act and make this information easily accessible to students and their parents. In this article, Ian McDowell has outlined how to find university crime logs and navigate our local institutions’ websites. The point of this article is to enlighten the public and provide students with this crucial information. This article is not intended to discredit local law enforcement, campus security or the administration of the Triad’s colleges and universities mentioned in this article.
On Aug. 25, College Hill homeowner Ronald Fulp emailed me alleging that the University North Carolina Greensboro might be violating the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The 1990 Clery Act requires colleges or universities receiving federal financial aid to maintain a public record of crimes such as the multiple sexual assaults and rape at the UNCG last month. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, which can impose civil penalties of up to $54,789 per violation
Fulp claimed to have also written the USDE, alleging the university’s “police log” was offline in a month with more attacks on women than many institutions report in a year. Fulp linked to a page titled “UNCG Police Activity Log” that displayed a DNS error. “Sloppiness in the IT department,” he asked, “or a cover-up?”
Fulp was looking in the wrong place, UNCG Police Chief Paul Lester said. “That’s an old link that we no longer use and needs to be removed,” Chief Lester said.
Chief Lester sent me a working link to the Crime and Fire Log at clery.uncg.edu. That log can also be accessed by clicking the Clery tab at police.uncg.edu or by typing “crime log” into the search tool on the University’s homepage at uncg.edu (to show readers how to search for crime records, this article details various steps to finding them at local institutions).
UNCG’s log reports seven crimes of a sexual or gendered nature since July 13, none so far resulting in an arrest. A “sex offense” (originally recorded as “rape”) in McIver Building on July 13 is marked “closed/leads exhausted.” A “rape” recorded at Strong Dorm on Aug. 12 is marked “closed/cleared, victim refused to cooperate.” Two open reports labeled “rape,” both at 201 Gray Dr., are recorded for Aug.16 and Aug. 21. “sexual assault” is recorded for 1202 North Dr. on Aug. 13. Two incidents are labeled “assault on a female,” a “closed/cleared” one near Lee Hall on 700 Highland Ave. on Aug. 17 and an open one near Tate Street Coffee (off-campus, but the UNCG police provided assistance) on Aug. 24.
Although UNCG appears compliant with the law, students and their parents should be aware that all colleges or universities receiving federal financial aid are required to keep public records of incidents like these, as well as murders, robberies and other crimes of violence.
The Clery Act is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. 668.4. It is named after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her campus residence hall in 1986. That fatal assault was one of 38 violent crimes recorded at the university in three years. Her parents sued, arguing that their daughter would not have attended Lehigh if its crime record been known. They were awarded $2 million and founded the nonprofit organization Security On Campus.
The law requires campus police departments to maintain public logs of all crimes reported to them. The log is required to have the most recent information in the last 60 days. Each entry must contain the nature, date, time and general location of each crime and disposition of the complaint.
Institutions must publish their Annual Campus Security Report by Oct. 1 of each year and distribute it to current and prospective students and employees. This report must provide crime statistics for the prior three years, policy statements regarding various safety and security measures, campus crime prevention program descriptions and procedures to be followed in the investigation and prosecution of sex offenses.
Like most institutions, UNCG won’t publish their 2016 data until October. But their 2016 Annual Security and Fire Report (the date refers to when it was published) contains the following information. In 2013, there were five reported rapes, seven reported incidents of “dating violence,” five reported incidents of stalking, and two reported incidents of “fondling.” In 2014, there were nine reported rapes, five stalkings, 14 reports of dating violence, and four of fondling. In 2015, there were eight reported rapes, 12 incidents of dating violence, nine of stalking and four of fondling.
Not every local institution of higher learning is as transparent as UNCG. Unsurprisingly for legislation dating from 1990, the Clery Act doesn’t require crime logs to be available online, however many institutions have made them so. Greensboro’s Guilford College is not one of those institutions.
There is no mention of a crime log on the Public Safety page of the Guilford College website (as the college employs no police). William Anderson, the college’s director of public safety, affirmed in an email that Guilford maintains a public crime log, but that “it is not online.” He also said in the email that Guilford “did not have any incidents of rape, sexual assault, fondling, stalking or dating violence reported for July and August” of 2017. When asked what Guilford does to make students aware of the required log and how they may obtain a copy, Anderson said in an email that its existence “is addressed in our 2016 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report, page six, which we make public to all students, faculty and staff, per Clery requirements. It is our goal at some point to add this to our website.” It should be noted that, while page six of Guilford’s 2016 Annual Report briefly describes the requirements of the Clery Act and acknowledges that the college maintains a daily crime log that “is open for public inspection,” it does not say where this log is kept or how it may be accessed.
To access a PDF of the 2016 annual report, go to the college’s main page, guilford.edu and enter “public safety” in the search window. The first hit is Public Safety (P-Safe). Click on it and scroll down and there’s a link to the Annual Security Report and Fire Safety Report. This document has figures for 2014-2016. It lists three rapes in 2016 and four in 2015, but the entry of 2014 is “N/A.” For “sexual assault, forcible,” it lists nine for 2016 and “N/A” for 2014-2015. The figures for dating violence are four for 2016, one for 2015 and three for 2014. There is one incident of stalking listed for 2016, and none for 2014-2015. There are three incidents of fondling listed for 2016, but entries are marked “N/A” for 2014-2015.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University does maintain an online crime log. Type “Clery” in the search window at ncat.edu and the first hit will be an explanation of the Clery Act. At the bottom of this page is a link to the latest Fire Safety and Security Report. However, the page contains no links to the crime log. Typing “crime log” in the homepage search window will bring up the Daily Crime and Fire Log as the first hit. Alternately, from the home page, choose Community Partners from the top menu and University Police Department from the resulting list. Jeanne Clery Act and Daily Crime and Fire Logs are both menu items on the left.
The only sexual or gendered crime on the A&T daily log is one incident of Indecent Exposure on July 31, with no rapes reported for 2017. The 2016 Fire and Safety Report lists seven “forcible sex offenses” for 2013, but does not define them. One rape and three incidents of fondling are reported for 2014. For 2015, the report shows five rapes and one fondling.
Greensboro College also has no online daily crime log, nor does their website mention a physical one. Their Annual Security and Fire Safety report lists the fewest sexual crimes of any Triad institution, possibly due to their small size. To access it, choose Life on Campus at the top of their homepage at greensboro.edu, then Security. Scroll down to Annual Security/Fire Report. This document lists one incident of violence for 2013 and one for 2014. For 2015, it lists three of fondling, two of dating violence and one of stalking. The figure given for rapes is zero for all three years.
Greensboro’s Bennett College maintains an online crime log with no entries for 2017. The only apparent way of finding it is to type “crime” into the search tool at bennett.edu. The latest entry is for December 2016 and it lists no rapes or sexual crimes. To find their annual report, type “security” or “safety” into the search tool and choose Campus Safety, then scroll down to Annual Security and Fire Report 2016. It lists no rapes or sexual offenses for 2013-2015, and the pages with other crime statistics bear the following disclaimer: The crime data reported by the institutions have not been subjected to independent verification by the U.S. Department of Education. Therefore, the Department cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data reported here.
For Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, go to Police.wfu.edu. Clery is the third option on the left-hand menu, under Home and About Us. Clicking it gives the definition the Clery Act and links to the Annual Crime Report and Daily Crime and Fire Log. The annual report is titled “2015” but covers 2013-2015 just as the “2016” ones at UNCG and A&T do.
The log shows an “Assault on a Female” on Aug. 23, case still active. There’s also a second degree Sexual Assault on Aug. 27, but the disposition is listed as “Closed – Unfounded.” The log has monthly statistics for the past year, and shows one rape, status listed as “Active,” on May 1, and two incidents of sexual assault in April, both listed as “Active.” The annual report shows four rapes, five incidents of dating violence, and 10 incidents of stalking between 2013-2015, with two of the rapes in 2014 and one each in the other years.
Like Wake Forest, High Point University has no apparent “Clery” tab or link on its main page. One must choose Security and Transportation from the Campus Life tab at the top of highpoint.edu, and then choose Campus Security Act (Clery) Compliance from Additional Resources at the bottom left of page. There’s a link to latest annual report, but no online Daily Crime Log, just a note that printed copies are available in the Security Administration Building. The annual report shows four rapes in 2013, five in 2014 and 11 in 2015. There were four incidents of fondling in 2013, seven in 2014 and five in 2015. The statistics for dating violence are three in 2013, one in 2014, and 10 in 2015. There are no reported incidents of stalking.
For Guilford Technical Community College, go to gtcc.edu and click on GTTC Home. Choose Campus Police from the drop-down menu. Annual Security Report/Clery is first option on the right-hand menu. Crimes Log is the sixth option. The log appears not to be updated as rapidly as the Clery act mandates, with no entries after July, but GTTC is the only institution with online daily records for 2016. For 2017, the log shows a sexual assault at the Greensboro campus in January and a “sexual offense” on the Jamestown campus in May. In May of 2016, a sexual assault is listed for the High Point campus. The annual report does not list any rapes, but one forcible fondling on the Jamestown campus and one on the High Point campus in 2013. In 2014, it lists one incident of dating violence on the Jamestown campus. In 2015, it lists one forcible fondling and one incident of dating violence, both on the Greensboro campus.
On the Winston-Salem State University site at wssu.edu, choose Public Safety from the Student Life tab at the top of the page and choose Daily Crime/Fire Log from the directory on the left side of the page. There are entries for May, June and July of 2017, but the July one doesn’t work. The other two list no sexual crimes. The site’s search tool does not currently work. One must use Google to find the PDF of their Winston-Salem State University Annual Fire Safety and Security Report. It lists two rapes in 2013, one in 2014 and zero in 2015. For stalking, it lists one incident in 2013 and two in 2014 and 2015. The stats of dating violence are higher, with nine in 2013, 12 in 2014 and 12 in 2015.
YES! Weekly would like to remind all victims of sexual assault and sexual assault survivors that they are not alone and to reach out for support. UNCG provides a resource webpage for victims and survivors at, sa.uncg.edu, Guilford College also has a webpage at guilford.edu/life/health-and-safety. On that webpage, there are public safety official’s contacts and also a way to anonymously report sexual misconduct for current students through an online form. NC A&T’s webpage is ncat.edu/student-affairs/student-services/counselling/sa_resources, HPU’s webpage is highpoint.edu/studentlife/sexual-misconduct-resources, Greensboro College’s webpage is greensboro.edu/local-resources/ and on the page greensboro.edu/sexual-misconduct/, which like Guilford College, there is a way to report sexual misconduct, however, it is not anonymous. WFU has a “Safe Office,” and the webpage can be found at safeoffice.wfu.edu/get-help/. Bennett College’s page is located at bennett.edu/student-affairs/campus-services/counseling-services/rise-project/sart/. GTCC’s webpage is located at home.gtcc.edu/sexual-harassment-and-sexual-violence-policy/ and provides a PDF of the policy and includes the resources at the bottom. WSSU’s webpage is located at wssu.edu/student-life/student-conduct/title-ix-for-students.html and they too have a way of reporting incidents online through a form, but it is not anonymous. Community partners of the universities include Family Services Inc. located at 1200 S. Broad St. in Winston-Salem. The administrative number is (336) 722-8173 or (800) 316-5513 and the sexual assault hotline number is (336) 722-4457. To learn more, visit www.familyservicesforsyth.org. As well as Family Service of the Piedmont, located at 315 E. Washington St. in Greensboro. The main offfice phone number is (336) 387-6161 and the rape and victim assistance number is (336) 273-7273 visit www.familyservice-piedmont.org for more information.