Utah colleges, universities release new sexual assault data

Old Main

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s 10 largest colleagues and universities reported 65 sexual assaults last year, up from 58 in 2015.

Under a U.S. law known as the Clery Act, schools that receive federal funding must annually release data on crimes that occur on campus or at affiliated locations, such as recognized fraternities and sororities, and on public property adjacent to campus, such as sidewalks.

Brigham Young University reported two sexual assaults in 2016. But the university’s Title IX coordinator, Tiffany Turley, said the actual number of assaults reported to the school — and experienced by students — is far higher.

The gap shows the limits of data reported under the act, which took effect in 1991 to inform students of campus dangers. It requires institutions to annually release crime data by Oct. 1.

“The Clery report is useful because it does capture what physically happens on our campus, which a lot of people wonder about and think is important to know,” Turley said. “But here at the university, we would never pretend that that was the only number and that that fully captured all of our statistics.”

More than 60 percent of college rapes happen off campus, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Even if students report them, those numbers are not included in annual Clery reports, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Some colleges and universities have turned to campus climate surveys to supplement their understanding of how often sexual assaults occur, said S. Daniel Carter, president of Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses LLC.

“The Clery data is a starting point,” he said. “Climate surveys provide much richer data about the true scope” of assaults and factors that could help shape solutions.

Brigham Young has conducted a campus climate survey and will release its findings “very soon,” Turley said.

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