Clery Act shows rising numbers


by Sam Dearden and Erin Gerken

Reported sexual assault cases and liquor law violations are on the rise at Simpson College according to the annual security report released last week by Campus Security.

The report includes statistics about what has taken place around campus in the past three years. It allows people to become aware of these types of criminal activities.

“The goal is to just make sure faculty, staff, students, potential students, potential employees, visitors and all of those are well informed when they either choose to visit, work at an institution or choose to go to school there,” Director of Campus Security Chris Frerichs said.

Mandatory reporting of security issues began with the Clery Act in 1990, which was implemented after the rape and murder of a female student on a Pennsylvania college campus in 1986.

“(Her) parents did some research and found out later there were a lot of violent crimes prior to their daughter going to that institution,” Frerichs said. “They felt if they would have had some knowledge of what was actually taking place at this institution prior to allowing their daughter to go there, they could have made a better, informed decision.”

In the 2010 report, the number of reported forcible sex offences rose from one in 2008 and two in 2009 to four in 2010. However one of those incidents occurred in 2007 and another in 2009.

The Clery Act requires an incident to be reported in the year the college is made aware of it instead of the year it actually occurred.

“I think it’s important to report sexual assault, because I think if we don’t, then the underlying message is that it doesn’t happen, and then if it doesn’t happen we don’t have to deal with it,” Director of Counseling Services Ellie Olson said.

The Clery Act also requires Campus Security to notify students of threats to their safety.

“We would send out a notification if an incident occurs, we have no idea who the alleged assailant was and there’s the possibility that type of behavior could continue,” Frerichs said. “Or we’ve had repeated offenses, maybe we got a couple reports of a couple incidents of the exact same nature and we wanted to make sure that the community was aware that those incidents were taking place.”

Frerichs said it is important that students participate and help campus security in reporting issues on campus.

“What we find is that Simpson students seem to do that already in regards to their ability to feel as though they can come forward and talk to people and to report things,” Frerichs said. “They don’t accept certain behavior and that they’ll respond back if we send out a notification about an incident.”

Vandalism is not required by law to be in the annual report, but Frerichs says the college keeps track of other situations as well.

“The categories are the ones that the government requires us to report,” Frerichs said. “There’s the sexual assault stuff, there’s the crime, and then they’ve added lately more of the emergency response type stuff, and fire, and things, so it’s evolving.”

Frerichs says that students can help the security staff keep campus safe.

“We just can’t do it all by ourselves,” Frerichs said. “We need help. We need the students and everyone else to take an active role.”