Annual Clery Act released

Matt Grahn

[media-credit id=2143 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Public Safety released its data for offenses that occured at Quinnipiac during the 2016 calendar year. Multiple charts show that violent crimes and theft are down, while drug arrests and alcohol referrals are up.

The Clery Act was created in response to Jeanne Clery, 19, being raped and killed in her dorm at Lehigh University back in 1986, according to the Clery Center website. The site refers to the act as “a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.”

As a result of that, schools have to report various kinds of crime and infraction data, from simple assault and drug possession to rape and murder, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Karoline Keith, who is a Clery Compliance officer and Title IX investigator for Quinnipiac, said the annual report (which can be found on the Quinnipiac website under “University Policies”) is a valuable asset for students because of information on university policies and resources to help students, among other things.

However, Keith does not think that the statistics are as applicable for students as it is for incoming students who may attend the university.

“I think (the data) is best when compared against similar universities,” Keith said. “If you’re a current student here and you like it here, I don’t know if the Clery Crimes Activity Report really affects you so much.”

Of the kinds violent offenses reported for 2016, there was one outlier: there were four recorded incidents of dating violence, as opposed to three in 2015. The report defines dating violence as physical or sexual abuse, or the threat of, committed by someone who has intimately known the victim.

As for other kinds of violent crime, which are all down from previous years, include one aggravated assault, and two rapes. There were two hate crimes reported, neither of which were physically violent.

Despite these incidents being reported for violent crimes, many students still feel safe being on Quinnipiac grounds.

“I always felt safe here, walking around at night,” sophomore Andy Hoff said. “There’s always people, even if it’s just a couple of people.”

Sophomore Maria Sawula, Hoff’s friend, said she has to walk all the way to Hilltop parking lot from her building, and she still feels pretty safe.

With this positive attitude about safety, students, like freshman Katelyn Gemmel, were still worried by the fact that two rapes were reported on campus in 2016.

“It is concerning whenever you hear about rape on campus, or rape in general,” Gemmel said. “It’s a really scary thing. So, knowing that it was on campus last year, I would be nervous and keeping an eye out for situations like that, and try to keep myself safe and my friends safe when we’re out,.”

However, there were also offenses from 2016 that would be considered not violent or hateful. Of those, there were 10 burglaries, an instance of stalking, one stolen car and two students referred for weapon possession. The bulk of these offenses relate to recreational substances.

For illegal substances, there were 18 arrests, double that of the prior year, but referrals were about the same from 2015. As for alcohol, there were no arrests, but there were 445 referrals in 2016, up from 2015’s 362, but down from 2014’s 772.

Students, like Hoff , was surprised by the drug and alcohol use.

“At a college campus, in this age, it’s very likely that people are gonna have to much to drink,” he said.

One common factor between all these incidents is that they were more likely to occur on main campus, as opposed to York Hill or North Haven. Junior Allissa Parker, an RA, said this is a matter of maturity.

“We notice that, with underclassmen, we actually have to pay attention and check in with them more often,” Parker said. “Up on York Hill, we’re considered ‘community assistants,’ because we feel that the students up there don’t necessarily need our help when it comes to situations that underclassmen might need help with.”

Even though there are still issues that happen on main campus, there is still support for how public safety runs things, but sophomore David Capela still thinks they can be annoying at times.

“I think they’re a little strict about alcohol,” Capela said. “They’re always checking bags at Hogan (Lot), which is kinda ridiculous, but they do a good job overall.”

Public Safety is doing its job, according to Keith. From day to day tasks, to helping the university with programs like It’s On Us, a national sex crime prevention campaign, she says that it’s about supporting the community.

“In my interactions with students, I try to dispel that this is a “Gotcha” kind of thing,” Keith said. “It’s less about that and more about just ensuring policies are adhered to and looking out, not only for you but other people also.”

Keith, who was with the Connecticut State Police for 20 years, prefers her work at Quinnipiac, and when students do have problems, she tries to turn whatever happened into a teaching moment.

“I used to deal with people on the worst days of their life with that career, and coming here was a nice segue because now I feel like I deal with people on the best days of their life,” Keith said.

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