Spears recognizes statistical discrepancies in Clery Report

The Emerson College Police Department released the college’s annual Clery Report on Wednesday, which a college official said provides an incomplete picture of the college’s crime statistics. 

Vice President for Equity and Social Justice Sylvia Spears said the report only pertains to alleged crimes within a certain proximity to campus. The public property section of the document does not include areas such as Boston Common. 

The brief states that on the Boston campus during the 2018-19 school year, there were 10 cases of sex offense related incidents. The college found that there were two cases of rape, one case of fondling, three cases of dating violence, and four cases of stalking.

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According to the document, there were no reported cases of sex offenses on the Los Angeles or Kasteel Well campuses.

The Social Justice Center sent an update to the Emerson community on April 30 stating that during the 2018-19 academic year the Title IX office received 77 reports of sexual misconduct policy violations. The office only received eight requests from parties to continue into investigations.

The college took protective measures in 21 of these cases, according to the email. These measures include No Contact Orders, Stay Away Directives, housing accommodations, and classroom accommodations.

Spears said in an interview that a sexual misconduct report must first either find its way to the Title IX office or ECPD for the college to publish it in the Clery Report. This does not include complaints received by Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services, the Healing and Advocacy Center, or the Center for Spiritual Life.

“Clery has really specific definitions so it is quite possible, and often the case, that the total number of reports like sexual assault will be higher than the number of sexual assaults that fall within Clery guidelines,” Spears said.

Colleges must release their Clery Report every year by Oct. 1, as mandated by the Department of Education since 1990. In accordance with the law, all colleges, both public and private, that participate in federal student aid programs must publish and make the community aware of an annual campus security report for the previous calendar year.

If two or more categories of crimes are committed in one instance, the more serious crime is counted, according to the official Clery Report handbook. The handbook also states that institutions must include all reported offenses within set parameters, regardless of legal prosecution.

The report does not include sexual assault as a category, unlike the college’s Title IX policy.

“[Title IX Coordinator Pamela White’s] end-of-the-year numbers give a broader scope, and even the campus climate survey gives a first-hand student report of how many [incidents occur]—whether it’s reported or not [to the Title IX office or ECPD] and regardless of where it happened,” Spears said.

According to the Emerson360: Community Climate Student Survey, 17 percent of student participants responded that someone has made unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome requests for sex. The survey also indicated that 12 percent of students said they have felt afraid for their personal safety or altered their daily activities because of the behavior of another person. 

“[The Clery Report] might be different because our folks can be affected by power-based interpersonal violence in another community, in another college, [or] in an apartment somewhere, and that’s not going to be reported in Clery,” Spears said.

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