Changes in recent years to Title IX law have focused on pushing victims of sexual assault and other misconduct to report the incident to their college if it happened on campus. The practical, and completely foreseeable, repercussion of that push has led to steep increases in the number of reported crimes on campus – crimes which, thanks to the Clery Act, have to be disclosed to the public.
Colleges that play by the rules now have to explain to prospective students why their crime rates are so high. Meanwhile, schools that cover up the numbers or make it difficult to report Title IX offenses look like the safer option.
Indiana State University is an example.
Crime Rate at Indiana State Jumps Thanks to Title IX Reports
Indiana State University recently released its annual report on campus crime.
News reports were quick to jump on the statistics and point out two significant outliers from previous years at ISU's main campus:
- Rape cases more than tripled, rising from six in 2017 to 21 in 2018
- Aggravated assault cases increased from six to 10 in the same period
These two types of allegations, though, are the result of years of urging potential victims to come forward and point the finger at someone.
Perhaps more interesting, ISU says that ten of the 21 allegations of rape in 2018 came from a single alleged victim and were made against a single alleged perpetrator. They were both students, and the alleged incidents all happened within the span of two weeks. The student who was accused of wrongdoing was no longer a student at the time of the release of the annual crime report.
Other increases in sexual misconduct statistics include:
- Fondling, which increased from nine in 2016 to 16 in 2017, and finally to 19 in 2018
- Stalking, which went from 20 in 2016 to 14 in 2017, and finally to 22 in 2018
Campus Crime Reporting Under the Clery Act
Reports like these are a result of the Clery Act, which is an often-overlooked piece of the Title IX enforcement puzzle that has only recently gotten attention thanks to a record-setting fine against Michigan State University.
The Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges to disclose campus safety and campus crime statistics. It is technically a consumer protection law and was designed to give prospective students an idea of how safe a college was before deciding where to attend.
The Michigan State fine is a good example of the Clery Act in action: The fine was meant to punish the school for covering up the Larry Nassar scandal.
Now, though, the Clery Act is a double-edged sword that could potentially punish schools who take their Title IX role seriously. By pushing alleged victims to come forward, schools are going to see their crime statistics jump, just like Indiana State University did in 2018. When they disclose these numbers under the Clery Act, prospective students may take notice and decide to go elsewhere.
Title IX Defense With Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer. Contact him online or call him at (888) 535-3686 if you have been accused of sexual misconduct on campus.