The number of sexual assaults reported at Baylor University increased last year, though the cases remain low overall, according to a federally mandated crime report released this week.
Four rapes and two fondling incidents were reported to the university in 2013, with all but one occurring in on-campus residence halls. Baylor had just two sexual assaults in 2012, but the university at that time was not required to specify what type of forcible sexual contact occurred.
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said the increase in cases may be a side effect of the university’s increased educational efforts on how students can report assaults. For example, Baylor launched a sexual assault prevention and relationship violence education program this fall tailored for the 3,400 entering freshmen.
She said it is possible that some sexual assaults went unreported in previous years because victims may not have been aware of reporting options or felt uncomfortable coming forward.
“As we add more training, education, additional resources, those future efforts may result in even higher levels of reporting as we work towards ensuring safety on our campus,” Fogleman said.
“We take very seriously all allegations of sexual violence, and we continue very intentional efforts to make sure our students and our entire campus community . . . know the resources that are available to help prevent — and if the situation warrants, to report safely and confidentially — any incidence of sexual violence.”
Baylor recently hired former Secret Service agent Mark Childers for the newly created post of associate vice president of campus safety and security, and the university is developing a new campus security plan, Fogleman said.
Colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid are required to publish campus crime statistics by Oct. 1 each year as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
At Texas State Technical College, three rapes were reported last year, all of which took place in the surrounding off-campus apartment and housing complexes. The college also listed three sexual assaults in both 2011 and 2012.
McLennan Community College did not record any rapes on campus for the past three years, though two sexual assaults were reported in 2011 in the section of Cameron Park that neighbors the campus. The area falls under the Waco Police Department’s jurisdiction, but the Clery rules mandate that MCC’s report include crimes in that region because it abuts the college’s property.
TSTC Police Chief Brian Davis said three of the department’s offices recently have been certified to teach Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) training. The department will begin a series of four-hour sexual assault prevention classes next month aimed at students and faculty.
The colleges reported statistics on dating and domestic violence and stalking for the first time this year in accordance with new changes to the federal Violence Against Women Act.
Baylor reported three stalking incidents this fall and five occurrences of dating violence. Fogleman noted that stalking can include electronic harassment through emails, text messages and social media.
At TSTC, seven domestic violence cases were reported, along with 11 incidents of dating violence. While domestic violence is defined as occurring between a co-habitating, married, common-law or co-parenting couple, dating violence refers to an act between acquaintances who may be casually or exclusively dating.
Davis said TSTC’s student life department offers counseling as well as classes to help couples resolve conflict.
“Our campus has over 700 houses that are family units, so this is a small city on our campus. So we struggle with the same issues a municipal law enforcement will on a day-to-day basis in our family housing,” Davis said.
“Obviously we do not and cannot have police officers in your home to mediate to your relationships, so we have to give these students the tools to reach resolutions to the problems they have that don’t result in violence.”
MCC did not have any reported cases of stalking or dating and domestic violence. MCC Police Chief Larry Radke said that is likely due to the fact that MCC is a commuter campus and does not have on-campus housing.
MCC’s overall crime statistics have historically been low. The college did not record any robberies, burglaries, or aggravated assaults on the main campus in 2013, and one burglary was reported in the off-campus duplexes reserved for student athletes — a decrease from five the year before.
But Radke notes the department has to deal with other crimes the college is not required to report, such as thefts and vehicle break-ins that occur a handful of times each semester.
“The students don’t always think and they’ll leave their backpack in a building, by a computer or something and walk off from it, and you lose track of time and come back for it 15 or 20 minutes later and it’s gone,” Radke said.
“It’s just human nature — if something is laying around, it’s going to be gone.”
Overall crime at Baylor dropped last year as well. The university did not have any robberies, and the number of reported burglaries fell from seven in 2012 to four last year.
Baylor police recorded 69 liquor law violations in 2013, a decrease from 83 the previous year, though the number of drug violations increased by two to 11 in 2013. Baylor also had three motor vehicle thefts in 2013, an increase from two the previous year.
“One crime of any kind is too many, and our goals are to eliminate those situations from happening, to protect all individuals on our campus, and provide caring assistance to victims of sexual assault and any other crime that happens on our campus,” Fogleman said.
TSTC’s crime statistics also fell, with 27 burglaries reported in off-campus housing compared to 33 the previous year.
The number of drug arrests dropped to nine from 16 in 2012, which Davis attributes to the increased presence of the department’s 2-year-old K-9 unit.
But, TSTC’s liquor-law violations rose from eight in 2012 to 18 in 2013. The campus also had three aggravated assaults last year compared to two in 2012.
“A lot of it is just variance year to year, based on the disposition of the students that you get,” Davis said.