Stanford releases annual Clery Act crime data and discusses results
Most of Stanford’s 2016 Safety, Security & Fire Report is devoted to promoting personal safety and crime prevention. The report also provides data on crimes reported in calendar year 2015, including an increase in sexual offenses and drug and alcohol arrests.
While the number of reported campus robberies and aggravated assaults dropped to zero last year, Stanford’s 2016 Safety, Security and Fire Report showed an increase in reported sexual offenses as well as increases in drug and alcohol arrests.
According to the report, 39 sexual offenses were reported in 2015 to university staff who are required to report these offenses for statistical purposes, compared with 30 in 2014. In 2015, police made 20 arrests for reportable drug violations, compared with 7 in 2014. The report indicates the police made 70 arrests for alcohol-related crimes in 2015, an increase over arrests made in 2014.
Stanford Police Chief Laura Wilson attributed the rise in the total number of sexual offenses reported to campus police in 2015 to increased national attention on the issue of sexual assaults on college campuses, and to Stanford’s active efforts in recent years to combat sexual violence and provide support to those who experience it.
“The goal is to eliminate all forms of violence, including sexual violence, but we know these crimes are taking place. Reporting higher numbers is preferable to reporting lower numbers if the lower numbers mean people who have experienced prohibited or criminal conduct have chosen not to report the conduct,” Wilson said.
Wilson understands and respects the decisions individuals make about how to proceed after experiencing an incident of prohibited conduct, but wishes more victims would come forward and be willing to pursue some type of an investigation or proceeding. “A significant percentage of the reported sexual assaults were reported by someone other than the victim,” she said. “Further, a high percentage of victims choose not to report to the police, or to identify the alleged perpetrator to the university, or to participate in a university process.”
Wilson said that while the number of alcohol arrests on campus rose in 2015, the previous year’s numbers were unusually low: “The number of alcohol-related arrests in 2015 was similar to the numbers of arrests in 2013. We had a decrease in the number of alcohol arrests in 2014.
“One of the aspects of our crime reporting that is not well understood is that the statistics are not limited to the main campus or to crimes involving students, faculty and staff. They are for the entire campus – including visitors and people who are on campus for a camp or conference – as well as property owned and managed by the university.
“For purposes of data reporting, the Stanford Hospitals, SLAC and the Oak Creek Apartments are all considered to be part of the main campus. Crimes that occur at property owned or controlled by the university that are not part of the main campus, such as the Stanford Sierra Camp, must also be reported.”
Also of note is that the statistics reported for purposes of complying with the Clery Act, which is the federal law that mandates crime reporting for higher education institutions, do not distinguish between completed and attempted crimes.
Wilson emphasized that Stanford remains a safe place to live, work and study. She said everyone in the Stanford community plays an important role in ensuring safety on campus.
“Safety requires more than locking your doors and being aware of your surroundings in order to protect yourself and your property,” she said. “It requires a commitment to actively look out for the best interests of those around us and taking appropriate steps to respond. Immediately call 9-1-1 or 9-9-1-1 from a campus phone to notify the police and emergency response personnel of a perceived threat, suspicious activity or violation of law. When appropriate and safe to do so, actively intervene to prevent, discourage or disrupt violations of university policies or notify the appropriate university official who can intervene.”
The annual report provides statistics and information required under federal law. The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act require that institutions of higher education produce an annual report containing crime statistics, fire incident statistics and safety polices. Stanford’s 2016 report includes statistics for the calendar years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Sexual offenses, dating violence and stalking
For reporting purposes and as defined by the law requiring data collection, sexual offenses are defined as any sexual act directed against another person without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
The 2015 statistics on sexual offenses include reports of 25 rapes, 3 statutory rapes and 11 fondling incidents. The 2014 statistics included reports of 26 sexual assaults and 4 fondling incidents.
“Stanford remains committed to reducing sexual violence,” said Lauren Schoenthaler, Stanford’s recently appointed senior associate vice provost for institutional equity and access. “One of my goals is to ensure Stanford focuses on working with complainants to encourage increased participation in formal processes. We have elected to share high level information about the sexual assault reports made in 2015 in the interest of transparency and to encourage others to come forward.” Additional information about the 2015 sexual offenses can be found below.
Students who have not wanted to go through a university or police process and who are willing to share their reasons for not going through a formal process are invited to reach out to Title IX Coordinator Catherine Glaze, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lauren Schoenthaler, email@example.com.
Sexual assault and fondling reports
Sexual assaults: There were 25 reported instances of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault, of which 22 involved at least one student as either the complainant or the responding students. Eight of these cases were investigated by the university and of those, two were also investigated by the police (at the request of the victim) and referred to the District Attorney for prosecution. One police case resulted in a conviction. The District Attorney declined to bring charges in the other police case. Under California law, Stanford must report all possible sexual assault cases to local law enforcement; under this same law, Stanford is prohibited from sharing the victim’s name unless the victim grants permission.
Of the eight cases formally investigated by the university, they resulted in the following outcomes: one permanent campus ban; two findings of responsibility following a hearing under a student disciplinary process with discipline imposed; two informal resolutions placing restrictions on the respondent; two findings that the respondent was not responsible following a hearing under the student disciplinary process. One of the eight cases was withdrawn by the complainant.
Of the remaining reports, in 13 cases there was a student complainant who was not then willing to identify the respondent or participate in a university investigation. In six of these 13 cases, the complainant was not then willing to identify the conduct that constituted the sexual assault. In one additional case, the complainant was then unwilling to speak to the Title IX Office or the police and was then unwilling to describe a possible sexual assault against a suspected respondent, who was counseled. These cases generally came to us through staff members who had heard of the report under circumstances in which the complainants were not prepared to work with the university or the police.
“We hope that the individuals in these cases know that there is still time to review these cases both through the university or with the police and we invite them to come forward,” Schoenthaler said.
The remaining three cases did not involve Stanford students, including: a report involving two camp counselors; a report involving a current and former staff member, which was investigated while the staff member was on leave; the complaint could not be substantiated; and, an anonymous complaint against a medical provider, which was investigated and found to be unfounded based on eyewitness testimony.
Statutory sexual assault: There were three statutory sexual assault cases all involving complainants involved in summer camp programs, two on-campus and one off-campus. The police were called in all three cases. The Santa Clara County District Attorney declined to file charges in the two cases that occurred at Stanford. Stanford does not have information about the third case that took place outside of Santa Clara County.
Fondling: There were 11 reported incidents of fondling. Six of these cases involved at least one student. In one matter, the complainant was not willing to speak to the Title IX Office or the police or share information regarding a possible fondling. Two cases related to the same student who was reported to have touched other students on the buttocks; the complainants were not identified, but the student was counseled about the conduct. An additional case also involved unwanted touching of the buttocks between two students and an informal resolution was reached placing restrictions on the respondent. Two cases involved unwanted touching; the complainants reached out for support resources, but did not want to proceed through a formal process.
In one additional case, it is unknown whether students were involved. A staff member was touched on the buttocks by unknown teenagers riding bicycles.
The four remaining cases did not involve Stanford students. One case involved a complainant who was a camper in a non-Stanford camp who brought an allegation against a counselor; this matter was investigated by the police and referred to the District Attorney, but no charges were brought. One report involved a visitor to campus who grabbed the buttocks of a staff member; this matter was investigated by the police and charges were filed. One report involved a current staff member and an anonymous staff member, which was investigated while the staff member was on leave; the complaint could not be substantiated. One case involved an allegation between two patients at Stanford Hospital, which was reported to the police and referred to the District Attorney for review.
Dating violence and stalking: Last year, the report showed there were six reports of dating violence, compared with zero in 2014. Dating violence for purposes of reporting pursuant to the Clery Act is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. There were seven reported incidents of domestic violence in 2015 compared with 13 in 2014. Domestic violence and dating violence have slightly different definitions.
In 2015, there were 19 reports of stalking, compared with 14 the previous year. The definition of stalking used for reporting purposes is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Drug and alcohol arrests: In 2015, police made 70 arrests for underage drinking and other violations of liquor laws. Wilson noted that the numbers do not include being drunk in public, driving under the influence or medical transports for alcohol intoxication. The university is not required to report these statistics under the Clery Act.
Stanford recently updated its alcohol policy to address the public health issues related to binge drinking, prohibiting high-volume distilled liquor containers for all undergraduate and coterminal students living in undergraduate housing.
The updated alcohol policy also prohibits hard alcohol at all categories of on-campus parties, except mixed drinks served at parties hosted by student organizations and residences whose membership is 100 percent graduate students. Straight shots of hard alcohol are never allowed at any party. Beer and wine are the only alcoholic beverages that can be present at all on-campus undergraduate student parties.
Hate crimes: In 2015, campus police received reports of two hate crimes, compared with three in 2014.
Last year, in one incident of vandalism, swastikas were spray-painted on the walls of an on-campus fraternity with members of the Jewish faith. In another incident, an individual used a homophobic slur while raising a golf club as if to hit a bicyclist riding through a group of people playing mini-golf on campus. That incident was categorized as an attempted simple assault based on sexual orientation.
Burglaries and motor vehicle thefts: The number of burglaries reported to campus police rose to 57 in 2015, compared with 51 in 2014.
Golf carts remained a popular target for motor vehicle thieves in 2015, with golf carts accounting for 32 of the 36 motor vehicle thefts.
Getting copies of the 2016 Safety, Security & Fire Report
An electronic version of the report is available on the Department of Public Safety’s website. Print version may be obtained by phone (650) 723-9633, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail, Attn: Crime Statistics, Stanford Department of Public Safety, 711 Serra St., Stanford, CA 94305-7240.