New figures from Johns Hopkins University reveal upticks in sexual assault reports and certain types of violent crime in and around the Homewood campus in 2016.
The Hopkins Counseling Center handled 36 confidential reports of sexual assault in 2016, up from 32 one year before and 21 back in 2014, according to the latest Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. The campus received six non-confidential reports of rape (down from 12 in 2015) and two non-confidential reports of fondling (down from five in 2015).
All U.S. universities are required to publish campus security statistics under the Clery Act, a law enacted by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. The law intersects with Title IX, a 1972 education amendment that bars sexual discrimination in education or any federally funded program.
“We believe we are seeing the results of our efforts under Title IX to make resources and support available and to encourage students to come forward,” wrote Hopkins spokesman Dennis O’Shea in an email when asked about the increase in sexual assault reports.
Reports of dating violence also rose at Hopkins last year. The Homewood campus had seven domestic violence incidents and nine stalking cases. The year before, the campus had no reported domestic violence incidents and three stalking cases.
Aggravated assault cases also bumped up, from two in 2015 to eight in 2016, and burglaries doubled from 10 to 20. Nine people were also arrested for drug or weapons violations, up from three the year before.
The university did see drops in some categories. No cases of arson were reported – there were two in 2015 – and there was one less motor vehicle theft. Disciplinary referrals for liquor and drug law violations also fell, with a particularly drastic 21 percent reduction for liquor violation referrals.
O’Shea said increases in certain categories are “attributable to a number of factors. In part, crime was up citywide in 2016 and that impacted Johns Hopkins too.”
He also said the federal Clery Act handbook redefined the area for reporting, which required Hopkins to include buildings previously categorized as “non-campus” to “on campus,” and thus could have added more crimes on surrounding public property.
“Overall, the safety and security of our community is a constant focus at every level of the university,” he said. “Any increase in local crime or violence is taken very seriously, and we work closely with the Baltimore Police Department to prevent and address crime and protect our community.”
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who was appointed to her post by Donald Trump earlier this year, has issued new guidelines with softer requirements for schools in regard to sexual assault investigations. Rather than forcing universities and college to adjudicate each and every case, as required under Obama-era rules, they let administrators use an informal resolution process if accused and accuser both agree. The guidelines also eliminate a recommendation for schools to make a decision in sexual assault cases within 60 days.
All schools are still required to have a coordinator for sexual assault cases and to share report stats on an annual basis.
This story has been updated with comment from Johns Hopkins University. An earlier version of this story incorrectly assumed all nine people arrested for drug or weapons violations in 2016 were students.
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