Security Report Reveals Decreases in Policy Violations

Jacob DeCarli ’22, Managing Editor

Alcohol and drug policy violations are at their lowest number in three years, as reported by Dickinson College’s 2019 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. 

An email to the Dickinson College community was sent by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Monday, Sept. 30 with an internal link for interested persons to view the annual report. According to the email, the report presents information on “crime prevention, fire safety, campus police law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, alcohol and other drug policies, and other matters of importance related to security and safety on campus.” The report is available online for review by the public. 

Reports of alcohol policy violations, titled “Liquor Law Violations” in the report, dropped from 142 in 2016 to 86 in 2018. These are violations reported to student conduct for further review, as compared to the number of alcohol related arrests which remains at zero for the past three years. Reports of “Drug Law Violations” also decreased from 62 in 2016 to 33 in 2018, as compared to the number of drug related arrests which totals one each year. 

According to Dee Danser, assistant vice president of compliance and campus safety, there are different factors that may have contributed to the decline in policy violations. Danser explained that the school’s recent implementation of an alcohol amnesty policy may have helped numbers decline. This policy allows for underage students who need medical intervention due to alcohol consumption to not be referred to student conduct, according to Danser. 

Additionally, Danser explained that DPS does not search for student parties unless they receive noise complaints. “Several years ago we were responding to noise complaints related to much larger parties which could result in large numbers of individuals being referred for underage drinking,” Danser said in reference to the number of alcohol violations from years past. The Clery Act only requires schools to report underage students sent to conduct if they violated state liquor laws. 

In addition to Danser’s explanation of people reported for violations at parties, George Stroud, vice president for student life and dean of students, reflected on student behavioral changes. “I think students are becoming smarter and more knowledgeable of alcohol and drugs on college campuses,” he said and continued that students are not partaking (?) in actions that draw attention to themselves which can lead to intervention by DPS. 

Another piece of the report includes instances of rape and statutory rape. According to the report, instances of rape have increased from four in 2016 to 10 in 2018. There are other cases of sexual misconduct that are excluded from the security report. According to Kat Matic, title IX coordinator, this report does not “capture all of the types of sexual and gender-based reports that are referred and resolved by the Title IX and Sexual Respect Office,” including instances of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, and domestic/dating violence.

In the 2018-19 school year, there were a total of 65 reported Title IX violations to the office, according to Matic, along with the 10 reported instances of rape. The number of reported offenses has increased in the last few years, but Matic assures that the campus should not be worried because campus community members know that, “such behaviors [sexual misconduct and gender discrimination] are against our values of inclusivity, respect and care for our whole campus community,” she said. Matic also believes that numbers have increased due to an increase in “programs, education, and prevention work,” led by various campus offices and organizations like the Wellness Center, and Women’s and Gender Resource Center. 

Reports of college campus/university sexual assault/misconduct have increased within the last decade. According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Education, there were 2356 reported cases of sexual assault in 2009 that increased to 7464 reports in 2015. These numbers only reflect reported cases, either to administrative offices of college campuses or local police. 

Matic explained that she has seen this rise in sexual assault reports nationally, and that it can be attributed to prevention programs, education, and overall support from students for the college to end sexual misconduct and gender discrimination. “An increase in reports should not worry us,” Matic said, “we should be concerned and begin to ask critical questions when there are few reports made to the College.”

The 2019 report compares statistics of crimes on campus and student conduct policy violations from 2016 to 2018. The report also compares numbers from popular study abroad programs like Bologna, Italy and Toulouse, France. 

The annual security report is a requirement of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, shortened to the Clery Act. Colleges or universities that distribute federal financial aid to students must “maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information,” according to the U.S. Department of Education website. Colleges or universities that violate any provision of the Clery Act can be fined by the department of education.