Sex crimes increased while liquor and drug violations decreased in 2016 at Miami University, according to the school’s annual crime and safety report released..
Miami’s federally mandated campus security and fire safety report states there were 12 alleged sex offenses, including rape and sexual assault with an object, reported on campus last year compared to just four in 2015 and 10 in 2014.
This news organization has reached out to Miami University for comment.
On Sept. 22, the school released a statement stating that campus police were investigating two separately reported sexual assaults. The university encourages all students to report rapes and sexual assaults, said Claire Wagner, Miami spokeswoman.
Due to more awareness and support, several recently alleged rapes and assaults occured prior to when they were reported, Wagner said.
The U.S. Department of Education is investigating three cases of the school’s handling of sexual assault.
The two most recent investigations, stemming from alleged assaults that occurred off campus in 2015 and 2016, were launched in June. Since they occurred off campus, they would not be counted as part of Miami’s annual campus safety and crime report.
Miami has the most active federal probes of any college in Ohio right now.
Experts have noted an increase in reported sexual assaults could mean more sexual violence, but it also could mean that more assaults are being reported to law enforcement. Sexual assaults generally are under-reported, advocates say, so an increase in reporting could mean more victims are comfortable coming forward.
Campus sexual assault has drawn increased public scrutiny over the last few years, thanks in part to high-profile cases such as Brock Turner of Bellbrook and because the Trump administration recently rolled back Obama-era guidelines on how schools should handle allegations.
The annual report — mandated under the federal Clery Act — lists student education and prevention programs that have grown at many schools in recent years. The report is not comprehensive, though, as it includes only crimes that allegedly occurred on campus, not in landlord-owned student housing.
The report also lists arrests and disciplinary referrals made by the school for drug and alcohol violations.
Both liquor and drug law arrests and violations referred for disciplinary action declined at Miami from 2015 to 2016, according to the report.
Police arrested 31 people on campus for drug issues, down from 53 in 2015. There were 62 disciplinary actions taken for drug law violations at Miami in 2016, the same number reported in 2015, according to the report.
There were just eight liquor law arrests on Miami’s main campus in 2016, down from 18 in 2015. The number of alcohol violations referred for discipline declined from 419 in 2015 to 397 in 2016.
Though Miami’s drug and alcohol violations may be down this year, Wagner said the school is still trying to do more to prevent issues.
“We are working more and more with the uptown community to be more aware and to provide more awareness training,” Wagner said.
Miami University was thrust into the spotlight this year when a student died after a night of heavy drinking. Freshman Erica Buschick was found dead in her dorm room on Jan. 20, according to police reports.
The 18-year-old’s death and other alcohol related incidents reverberated across Ohio’s college campuses, prompting some schools to re-examine policies.
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