campus security: [January 2012]

Gaps in Reporting and Investigation of Sex Assault Allegations on Campus Prompt Action
From "Investigations of How Few Sex Assault Allegations Are Prosecuted", Quick Takes, Inside Higher Ed, December 5, 2011, "U. of Montana May Have a Gap in Reporting Sexual Assaults, Investigator Warns" by News Staff, University of Montana, December 5, 2011, "U of Montana May Have a Gap in Reporting Sexual Assaults, Investigator Warns" by The Ticker, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 5, 2011, Status Report to President on Continuing Investigation by Diane Barz, Letter to the President, December 5, 2011, and "In Cook County, Campus Sex-assault Suspects Rarely Prosecuted" by Stacy St. Clair, Todd Lighty and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, December 4, 2011

Gaps in reporting and investigating sexual assault on campuses continued to be reported at institutions in December, prompting some to take a hard look at their institutions. The Chicago Tribune reported that relatively few reports of sexual assault on Chicago-area campuses are prosecuted. While police have investigated 109 reported sex crimes at 16 local colleges since the fall of 2005, only 12 arrests and 5 convictions were made. Prosecutors blame lack of evidence for hindering arrests, while others say some cases were not taken seriously enough.

At the University of Montana, concern over an unreported incident that came to light prompted President Royce Engstrom to ask a former state Supreme Court justice with a background in Title IX to investigate allegations of sexual assault.  Justice Diane Barz wrote that “there are many programs on campus addressing sexual assault issues, including recent campus communications and posters throughout campus. One female student athlete told me that she felt there are sufficient warnings of date rape and alcohol misuse on campus.” Nevertheless, said Barz, the university “appears to have a gap in reporting sexual assaults.” She recommends the university enhance its safety information for students regarding date rape and alcohol misuse and refers to the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety web site, http://publicsafety.syr.edu/, as an example of good practice.

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