The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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University Issues Clery Report

Reports of Rape and Liquor Violations on Rise, Drug Violations Decline

Reports of rape on campus increased by three incidents in 2016, according to the University’s recently-released Clery report. There were four reported incidents that years, compared to two in 2015 and one in 2014.

In a statement to the Torch regarding the Clery report, the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Yael Wepman said the school “has a robust mandatory prevention and education program that includes multiple steps and repeat contacts with students using various methods of communication.”

These steps include making sure students are aware of and understand prohibited conduct, and knowing what resources and reporting options are available to them.

Additionally, Wepman said the University’s program ensures that students are aware of their “procedures for responding to complaints of sexual misconduct, including the investigation and adjudication process.”

Last spring St. John’s partnered with Project Callisto, a new sexual assault reporting system. The founders of Callisto told the Torch in September that the number of sexual assault reports at the first few schools they partnered with rose, which they considered a positive because sexual assault is widely underreported.

Any impact that Project Callisto may have had on increasing reports of sexual assault would not be represented in this report because it represents the 2016 calendar year.

The Clery report, a public, federally-mandated report, is released yearly by all federally-funded colleges and universities in the United States. It includes a comprehensive look at crime statistics, ranging from thefts to assaults. St. John’s students may know it as the “Annual Security and Fire Safety Report,” which appears in students’ inboxes on or around the first of October each year.

Under the “sex offenses category,” which includes reports of rape, are fondling, incest and statutory rape. There have been no reports of incest or statutory rapes since 2014 and there were two reports of fondling in 2016, up from zero and four in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

In an email, Student Government Inc. President Frank Obermeyer told the Torch, “At the moment, SGI is not working on any of its own initiatives which involve sexual assault awareness.

We do support all that the office of wellness is doing to bring awareness and bystander training to our student body. Having done the training with my fraternity, I would love to see more students partake in the Bystander Intervention Training program.”

The Torch asked the Office of Media Relations about any other sexual-assault related programs the University has initiated in recent years and whether their effectiveness could be measured in the most recent report. A response was not received by deadline.

Some other notable figures from the Clery report include an increase in vehicle thefts — there were 10 last year compared six in each of the two previous years.

There also was increase in liquor law violations on campus, from 195 in 2015 to 242 last year, and a decrease in drug law violations, from 134 in 2015 to 84 last year.

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About the Contributor
Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief
Suzanne Ciechalski is a senior journalism major with a minor in government and politics. In her second year as EIC, she hopes to continue increasing the Torch’s editorial content by spanning coverage to include news within the local community outside of SJU, and breaking news. She also hopes to expand the Torch’s visibility by building on the paper’s online presence and by reaching out to students through stories, journalism workshops and other events. Before graduating, she hopes to instill an element of community service within the Torch by reaching out to local high schools about how the Torch can help them build on their current newspaper, or develop one. Suzanne has been with the Torch for three years, previously serving as the opinion editor and as a staff writer. Have any questions? Email Suzanne at [email protected]
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