Reports of sexual assault on Baylor University’s campus more than tripled last year after inching up since 2012, and a Baylor official said increased awareness of the issue is driving the uptick in reporting.
According to crime statistics colleges are required to file every year for their campuses, 23 rapes were reported at Baylor in 2015. That is up from six rapes reported in 2014, five forcible sex offenses in 2013, two in 2012 and none between 2009 and 2011.
Under the Clery Act, federal officials started requiring more specific classification of sexual crimes starting in 2014. New requirements say universities must divide forcible sex offenses into the categories of rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape.
“As we continue to train and educate our community, we’re starting to see an uptick of campus security authority reports,” Baylor Clery Act specialist Shelley Deats said. “That could be anyone from a professor to a coach to a dean. I would say the majority of what we saw from the last report that was just published did indeed come from Baylor police, Title IX and the Student Conduct office.”
Deats said efforts by former Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford, who was hired in November 2014 as the university’s first full-time Title IX coordinator, contributed to the increase in awareness and reporting of sexual assaults.
Crawford resigned this month, saying she never had the “authority, resources or independence” to do her job, and she claims Baylor is still violating Title IX. In an interview on “CBS This Morning,” Crawford said reports to the Title IX office under her guidance increased sevenfold, and senior administrators did not like that.
Baylor’s number of reported rapes seems on par with similar-sized schools, said Christina Mancini, an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies sexual victimization and campus sexual assault. Mancini said national Clery report numbers are still low, because 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault while in college, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report.
Of the 23 rapes reported at Baylor in 2015, 21 allegedly occurred at student housing, which includes dormitories and university-owned apartments. Off-campus apartments and houses are not included in Clery Act reports, which cover only university property and adjacent streets and sidewalks.
2015 numbers also include five aggravated assaults, six reports of dating violence, three reports of domestic violence and 21 reports of stalking. Last year’s numbers included three aggravated assaults, two cases of dating violence, two cases of domestic violence and three cases of stalking.
Clery crime statistics include reports made to police, the Title IX office or designated campus security authorities, including certain professors, deans and coaches. 2015 statistics are not necessarily tied to incidents that happened in 2015.
“These are strictly reports,” Deats said. “I think oftentimes people would associate it with maybe a finding of guilt, but Clery is about creating transparency of things that are reported in and around your campus to give a better understanding of what things are going on in the community.”
Almost 17,000 students attend Baylor. Texas Christian University, a school of more than 10,000 students, reported 12 rapes in 2015 and nine in 2014.
The 2015 numbers are part of the first Clery report since Baylor’s board of regents fired Ken Starr as president and Art Briles as head football coach. Two other athletics staffers have been removed, and Ian McCaw resigned as athletics director. Starr later resigned from his other positions at Baylor.
An investigation by a law firm found “fundamental failure” at Baylor to implement Title IX, regents said in May. The university is making progress on Pepper Hamilton LLP’s 105 recommendations to improve institutional responses to sexual assault, officials have said.
One of those recommendations dealt with updating Clery analysis.
The updating process was underway before Pepper Hamilton’s recommendations, said Deats, Baylor’s first full-time Clery Act specialist. She began the role in February 2015.
“One of the things we really tried to streamline because of Pepper Hamilton’s recommendations was the campus security authority form,” Deats said. “While we had one out there before, it was hardly ever utilized. People really weren’t aware of it, and it may not have been as user-friendly as it could have been. So in these last few months we really put together a better report form.”
There are more 700 campus security authorities, including professors, deans and coaches, Deats said.
Baylor also has seen a steady uptick of liquor law arrests. There were 60 in 2013, 72 in 2014 and 91 last year.
McLennan Community College reported zero rapes at its main campus, a steady number from the past two years. One aggravated assault was reported, up from zero the last two years.
There were two reports of stalking also up from zero in 2013 and 2014.
“We don’t have a lot of violent criminal activity,” MCC Police Chief Larry Radke said. “We’re very fortunate.”
Because MCC is a commuter school, students mostly spend time in classrooms or libraries during the day, then leave campus Radke said. About 8,500 students attend MCC.
Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus listed 18 reports of domestic violence, all of which reportedly happened on residential property. There were 12 such reports in 2014 and seven in 2013.
Three rapes were reported on residential property. One was reported in 2014, and three forcible sex offences were reported in 2013.
TSTC also reported 31 burglaries. Thirty-six were reported in 2014 and 27 in 2013.
TSTC Police Chief Brian Davis said Clery numbers, especially burglary reports, can add up quickly. For example, if a burglar enters an apartment with a living room and four lockable bedrooms and takes something from each room, five burglaries would be included on the Clery report.