Amend the Clery Act; help support campus assault survivors

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113 - 14

No, this isn’t the lopsided score of college football game.  This is the number of reported sexual assaults at Florida State University in 2014, compared to the number of sexual assaults Florida State included in their Annual Security Report.

 In their 2014 Annual Security Report (ASR), Florida State University reported 14 acts of sexual battery. However, in a confidential testimony that FSU fought to hide, the former Victim Advocate Director, Melissa Ashton, testified that there were actually 113 reports made to the university.

 This is not uncommon.

 In 2014, 91% of American colleges reported zero instance of rape, but we know that 1 in 5 women are raped while in college.

It is statistically impossible that these colleges are telling the truth.

 We have a problem; either students don’t feel safe coming forward, they don’t have proper facilities available, or they’re not following proper protocol.

 There are laws in place to set those protocols, the most relevant being the Jeanne Clery Act. According to the American Association of University Women, the act “requires colleges and universities… to disclose campus crime statistics and security information, including training and prevention efforts.” They add that “Every school must annually collect and report this information to the U.S. Department of Education.”

 While the Clery Act was a major step for college women, there are loopholes that universities exploit at the expense of assault survivors on their campuses. According to LiveSafe©, a mobile app aimed at keeping individuals secure, one of the most common mistakes in Clery Act reporting is “Failure to Report Crimes Based on Proper Geography.” The Clery Act does not require that universities include off-campus assaults in their ASRs, therefore erasing those victims and their personhood. Ms. Ashton of FSU cited that fact as the reason 99 assaults went unreported in 2014.

 As a soon-to-be college student, I am calling for the Clery Act to be extended to all assaults involving currently enrolled students of the university. Colleges have a responsibility to their students, and should be required to investigate and report any assault that was committed by or inflicted upon by their pupils.

 



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