Campus police statistics released last Thursday in Stanford’s 2017 Safety, Security and Fire Report show an increase in reported sexual offenses, an increase in reports of hate crimes and a decrease in arrests related to alcohol.
Reports of sexual violence are on the rise. 45 offenses were reported in 2016, of which 33 were rapes and 12 were fondling incidents. In 2015, 39 assaults were reported, including 25 rapes, four fondling incidents and three statutory rapes.
Senior Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Access Lauren Schoenthaler noted in an interview with Stanford News that she attributes the rising number of reports of sexual assault to an increase in student awareness of what is considered an assault, as well as a decreasing stigma around reporting such offenses. Stanford Police Chief Laura Wilson offered a similar hypothesis last year, when reports of sexual violence increased.
One specific initiative Schoenthaler cited was Beyond Sex-Ed, a New Student Orientation event that began last year aimed at helping students “develop their own sexual citizenship.” All first-year undergraduate students are required to attend. The University also recently adopted Callisto, an online platform for reporting sexual violence, for a three-year trial period.
“Over the past year, Stanford investigated more student cases than we had in the prior year, and we are hopeful that is a reflection that more of our students are willing to engage with the Title IX Office to resolve and redress their concerns,” Schoenthaler said.
The University conducted formal investigations of 11 cases of reported sexual assault, using an internal Title IX process piloted at the beginning of 2016 that has drawn scrutiny. Five hearings resulted in three findings of responsibility and two findings of no responsibility. Five cases were resolved with non-hearing resolutions, in which the Title IX coordinator oversees an agreement between parties; outcomes ranged from an order to stay away from the complainant to a ban from campus. Finally, the University issued a no-charge decision for one case, which also involved a domestic violence report.
The University is required under California law to report all potential cases of sexual assault to local law enforcement.
Six hate crimes were reported last year, including three incidents of vandalism related to religion and national origin, one threat related to sexual orientation, one battery related to race and one incident of vandalism related to race. This number shows an increase over the two reports received in 2015, which included one attempted assault related to sexual orientation and one incident of vandalism related to religion.
There were 62 arrests for alcohol-related offenses in 2016, down from 70 in 2015. Non-alcohol drug-related arrests stayed roughly constant, decreasing from 20 in 2015 to 19 this past year.
Stanford received four reports of aggravated assault, up from zero in 2015.
Speaking to Stanford News, Wilson urged members of the Stanford community not to stay silent if they believe anyone might pose a threat, especially in light of national discussions of race and concern about undocumented immigrants’ ability to contact law enforcement.
“Failing to call 9-1-1 could result in a tragic outcome, and that would be antithetical to the value we place on the safety and well-being of our community,” she said.
Federal law requires all institutions of higher education to report the crime statistics and information included in the 2017 Safety, Security and Fire Report. The report includes data for visitors and others not affiliated with the University in addition to those for students, faculty and staff. The data is not limited to incidents on the main campus; it also reflects crime reports on other properties owned or controlled by Stanford as well as hotels students have visited for Stanford-related activities.
Contact Sarah Ortlip-Sommers at sortlip ‘at’ stanford.edu.