Baylor University recorded 12 reports of rape from campus premises in 2017, one more than in 2016 but far fewer than the year before, according to federally required crime reports.
The 2017 numbers were released this week under the Clery Act, which since 1990 has required college and universities to track several categories of crime originating from each campus. The statistics do not reflect the outcomes reached by courts, juries or investigations of any kind.
The Clery reports show that the number of rapes reported to authorities each year has fluctuated over recent years, with an overall increase since the Baylor sex assault scandal began to unfold in 2015, with the conviction of former football player Sam Ukwuachu. The following May, an in-depth investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm found a “fundamental failure” in its handling of sexual assault cases, leading to dismissals of top university leaders.
The number of reported rapes spiked in 2015 at 23 after several years of few or no cases. The number of reported “forcible sex offenses” was zero in 2009 through 2011, two in 2012 and five in 2013. The name of the offense was changed to rape in 2014, when six such offenses were reported.
Sexual violence experts say that reports of rape tend to increase when reporting systems are implemented or improved.
Baylor officials said they are striving to make sure that rapes and other offense reports are accurately recorded.
“Being that it is an institutional responsibility, we can collaborate with both internal and external partners to ensure that everything is timely and accurate in this report,” said Shelly Deats, Baylor’s Clery compliance manager. “Our internal partners are going to be key departments such as human resources, Title IX, athletics, the police department, student conduct.
“We pull a person from each of those areas to be the point of contact so we can make sure. Beyond the statistical charts, there are other pieces of information that those people have to ensure are accurate.”
The report also includes three reports of robbery, eight reports of burglary, 15 reports of motor vehicle theft and four reports of arson.
It lists two reports of aggravated assault, four reports of dating violence, 14 reports of stalking and zero reports of domestic violence.
In May 2017, the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation into how Baylor has historically compiled crime reports, a probe that continues.
“We are still in a holding pattern,” Deats said. “We are just waiting to hear what their preliminary report will look like. There really is no information to give at this point. If they were to ask for more information, we would provide that.”
The document includes comprehensive policies and procedures under Baylor’s department of public safety.
“By becoming aware of the services Baylor offers, everyone can be a part of achieving a truly safe and welcoming educational environment for all students, faculty and staff,” Baylor President Linda Livingstone said in a statement within the report.