Butler University Police Department recently released the 2018 crime report. Collegian File Photo.
JOE KRISKO | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
The number of reported rape and stalking instances on campus doubled from 2017 to 2018 according to the 2018 annual security and fire safety report. The Butler University Police Department released the report on Sept. 30, as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Crime Statistics Act, commonly called the Clery Act. Additionally, drug violations referred for disciplinary action on campus decreased by almost 50 percent compared to 2017, while drug arrests went up.
This annual report has been required in the United States since the Clery Act was passed in 1990. The act is a consumer protection law that requires universities to release certain information and timely warnings related to campus safety.
G Gray, a senior music industry studies major, was surprised and disappointed by some of the reported crime statistics, but he was glad to see there was transparency about them. Gray had also previously discussed the reports in one of his classes.
“No college wants to admit like, ‘yeah this has happened here,’ but I feel like students have the right to know,” Gray said.
According to this crime report, the number of reported cases of rape on campus rose from six in 2017 to 12 in 2018. This is the most reported cases on campus since at least 2011. Clery report statistics for before 2011 are not publically available.
On-campus areas could be places like residence halls, Butler-owned apartments and property such as south campus. However, they do not include Greek or senior houses. Greek houses are considered non-campus areas. There was only one reported case of rape for these non-campus areas for each of the last two years, bringing the total to 13 for 2018.
There was an additional case BUPD was made aware of that is not included in this total because the location was not specified. Because it was not specified, BUPD does not know if it was within their jurisdiction or not.
John Conley, BUPD’s chief of public safety, attributes the increase in reported cases on campus to an increase in reporting, rather than an increase in the actual number of instances of rape.
Cases of rape often go unreported, and Conley said that providing different options for reporting and better educating students about these options could factor into there being more reports.
Many Butler staff members are designated as campus security authorities, or CSA’s, and are required by federal law to report crimes that they have been informed of.
Conley said there has been an effort to better define these roles and make these responsibilities clearer, which may be responsible for the increase in reports.
“We’re not seeing a big increase or decrease in the number of cases that are reported to BUPD, but what we have seen is better CSA reporting,” Conley said.
Most of the cases reported in 2018 were done so through CSA reports. These CSA reports can be filed anonymously if the reporting individual does not want to be identified.
Diane Sweeney, BUPD’s assistant chief of administration, said it is difficult to know for sure what caused the increase in reported cases. When the victim does not want to be identified or identify the perpetrator, it gives BUDP little options to investigate.
When this is the case, or if the victim does not choose to press charges, BUPD will honor the victim’s request. However, in cases where the perpetrator’s identity is known and the victim chooses not to press charges, the university can still pursue disciplinary action such as expulsion.
Also, a case which meets the requirements for rape at Butler might not be sufficient for legal charges in Indiana.
Sweeney said lack of consent is enough for sexual misconduct at Butler, but Indiana’s statute on rape requires proof of either force or incapacitation to pursue criminal charges
“You could have someone who, under the sexual misconduct policy, could be found responsible for sexual misconduct,” Sweeney said. “But, given the same facts to the prosecutor’s office, they’re going to say ‘no, we can’t prosecute because we don’t have force,’ which is really unfortunate and confusing.”
Another set of statistics listed in the report are those related to drug policy offenses. There were a total of 23 drug law arrests recorded by BUPD in 2018, compared to just 13 in 2017. For drug cases referred for disciplinary action, the trend was the opposite, with 15 in 2018 and 24 in 2017.
Drug arrests are made directly by BUPD officers, whereas referrals for disciplinary action are often initiated by the school through people like community assistants.
Conley said there has not been any policy changes that would have caused the changes in the number of drug referrals versus arrests. Drug referrals occur when a student is caught by a CA or another university employee, but drug arrests occur when a student is caught by BUPD. Instead, Conley said the changes could just be a result of the different choices surrounding drug usage made by students from year to year and education programs first-year students go through in orientation.
However, something that might affect students facing charges for drug offenses is a new policy recently announced in Marion County. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced in a Sept. 30 press release that the prosecutor will no longer prosecute cases involving possession of marijuana of less than one ounce. This must also be the only or most serious charge against the individual.
Conley said it will not affect the number of students who are arrested by BUPD or referred for disciplinary action on Butler’s campus. However, it will affect whether arrested students will actually be prosecuted by the county for the relevant offenses.
The policy aims to reprioritize the resources of the prosecutor’s office towards a focus on other crimes, especially violent ones. The press release also highlights that marijuana charges have often disproportionately affected people of color and that this policy could be the first step in addressing this issue.
Gray recalled learning about the disparate impact that laws like this can have in his class.
“Having such restrictions that are going to keep people down in life so that there is some sort of social status or social hierarchy is not good, so I think the policy is a step in the right direction,” Gray said.
Students can get support or guidance for cases of sexual misconduct through several resources made available on and off campus. Students can also report any crimes they see on campus anonymously to BUPD through a silent watch report.