Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Annual security report: UMass sees rise in number of rapes from 2014 to 2015

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

The number of rapes at the University of Massachusetts rose from 11 in 2014 to 17 in 2015, according to the annual security report published by the UMass Police Department.

The annual security report is released every year in accordance with the Jeanne Clery disclosure of campus security policy and crime statistics act, with the previous year’s records, information of campus crime prevention and safety awareness programs available. The statistics also includes individuals referred for campus disciplinary actions such as liquor and drug law violations.

The number of rapes off-campus reported to authorities rose from one in 2014 to seven in 2015, and specifically the number of reported rapes on-campus remained the same at 10 in both years.

The report includes a statement on sexual assault that reflects where the University stands on this issue stating, “UMass Amherst has always prioritized its efforts to combat sexual harassment and sexual violence by providing both proactive and reactive resources to ameliorate the devastating effects on victim/survivors and on our campus community as a whole.”

UMass has a Title IX coordination team to help address the issues of sexual assault and violence on campus, which is made up of members from the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, the Center for Women and Community, the Department of Athletics, the Dean of Students Office, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, Residential Life, International Programs, Campus Activities and Involvement (SAI) and UMPD.

According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, “Only 20 percent of female student victims, age 18 to 24, report to law enforcement.”

The number of fondling offenses reported also rose from two in 2014 to five in 2015, all of which took place on campus.

The definition for fondling used in the report was “the touching of the private parts of another person for the purposes of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.”

Supposedly, the risk of being a victim of sexual violence in college fluctuates depending on the time of the year. According to RAINN, “more than 50 percent of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November”.

The number of domestic violence reports dropped from a total of 16 in 2014 to seven in 2015.

The statistics for liquor law arrests, liquor law referrals, drug law arrests and drug law referrals all saw declines in numbers from 2014 to 2015. The amount of liquor law referrals saw the largest drop from 676 in 2014 to 323 in 2015.

Of the 323 liquor law referrals, only one incident occurred outside of the dorms.

The annual security report can be found on the UMPD website and was emailed to all students.

The annual security report included a message from Chief of Police, Tyrone Parham, which read, “Recognizing it takes a university community to grow scholars, we believe every member of the campus community has shared accountability for the success of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As such, we are honored to participate in the academic process and to help foster learning outside of the classroom environment.”

Dan Curtin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @dmcurtin96.

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