A new Stanford University safety and security report released on Oct. 10 found that the number of reported sexual crimes and alcohol-related offenses rose in 2015.
The Stanford University 2016 "Safety, Security and Fire Report," which documents required crime reporting under the federal Clery Act of 1990, provides year-to-year analysis between 2013 and 2015 of violent and nonviolent crimes. While some numbers of crimes rose, such as sexual assaults and stalking, others, such as aggravated assaults, plummeted to zero in 2015, according to the report.
The crime report includes data for campus and non-campus incidents as defined under the federal Clery Act. "Campus" includes any building or property owned or controlled by an institution within the contiguous geographic area used for educational purposes. Incidents occurring in student residences, fraternity, sorority and row houses were included as a subset of campus statistics.
"Non-campus" includes any building or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the institution or any building or property used in direct relation to educational purposes that is frequented by students but that is not within the contiguous geographic area of the university. An example would be off-campus graduate housing, according to the report.
In 2015, the number of reported on-campus sexual offenses rose to 38, a 26.6 percent increase over the prior year. In 2014, there were 30; in 2013, the number was 26. Sexual offenses are defined in the document as any sexual act against another person without consent, including when the victim is incapable of consenting. The offenses ranged from unwanted touching to rape and sodomy. The majority of the offenses occurred at student residences, with 25 in 2015, 24 in 2014 and 21 in 2013. An additional, a single sex offense occurred off campus in 2015, bringing the total to 39.
The report also used a separate measurement under the Violence Against Women Act, which further defines the nature of sex crimes at Stanford. Campus rapes, including sodomy, sexual assault with an object and oral copulation, dropped slightly from 26 in 2014 to 25 in 2015. But that number is still significantly higher than the 16 reported in 2013. Of the total reported rapes in 2015, 18 occurred in student residences, according to the report.
Fondling on campus nearly tripled over 2014, from four incidents to 11. And there were two statutory rape offenses in 2015 compared to none for the other years.
There was one incident of non-sexual dating violence in 2015 compared to two in 2013 and none in 2014.
The incidences of domestic violence remained flat with 10 on-campus cases each in 2014 and 2015. Nine of the incidents occurred in student residences. Additionally, there were two off-campus domestic violence cases in 2015 and three in 2014.
Stalking incidents also continued to rise, with 18 in 2015, compared to 13 in 2014 and six in 2013, according to the report. Six of these incidents were related to student residences.
University officials, including Stanford Chief of Police Laura Wilson, believe the increase in sex offenses is directly related to increased reporting, which officials think is the result of the university's educational efforts.
Stanford has focused on prevention and encouraging victims of unwanted sexual behavior to report to university officials, including the police, officials said. The 2016 "Safety, Security and Fire Report" also serves as a guide for students and employees regarding crime reporting, emergency notifications and procedures, crime and violence prevention and resources, expected behavior and Title IX investigation and hearings.
"Campus sexual assault is a complex topic," Wilson wrote in an email. "Stanford's goal is that these crimes and unwanted behaviors cease to occur. Until then, I encourage individuals who have been impacted by prohibited conduct to seek professional support and to report incidents to university officials, including the police.
"Collectively, we must continue to reinforce how important it is to treat one another with dignity and respect. Engaging in sexual behavior without consent is not acceptable," she said.
Of the 25 incidents of sexual assault in 2015 (rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object or oral copulation), 22 involved students as either the victim or perpetrator, according to the report. Eight of the cases were investigated by the university, two of which were investigated by police. One resulted in a conviction; the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office declined to prosecute the other case.
The eight cases investigated by the university resulted in one campus ban, two findings of responsibility with a hearing and disciplinary action, two informal resolutions with restrictions on the perpetrators and two findings that the accused person was not responsible after a hearing, according to the report. One case was withdrawn by the complainant. In 13 of the other cases the victim was not willing to identify the perpetrator or take part in a university investigation, according to the report.
Three other cases involved statutory sexual assaults at summer camp programs, but Stanford students were not perpetrators in those incidents. Police were called in all three cases, but the district attorney's office did not file charges in two cases that occurred on campus. The university did not have information regarding the third case, which occurred outside of the county.
To reverse the trajectory of sexual assaults, Stanford has increased its training efforts to build a culture of respect and consent, university officials said. This year, online training became mandatory for all graduate students, as has been the case with incoming undergraduates for several years, according to officials.
For incoming undergraduates, in addition to programs on sexual assault during New Student Orientation, this year the university added a standalone training on affirmative consent in the first week of October, which was created by undergraduate student Erika Lynn Kreeger and implemented by the Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Office. The program, "Beyond Sex Ed," focuses on values of creating and respecting sexual boundaries.
With alcohol playing a role in the high-profile sexual-assault conviction of former Stanford student Brock Turner, the university also stepped up efforts to stem the flow of hard liquor on campus this year.
In August, Stanford banned hard liquor at undergraduate parties and limited the size of alcohol containers that students can have in campus housing. Student organizations and residences with graduate students can serve mixed drinks at parties, but straight shots of hard alcohol are not allowed at any parties. Undergraduate parties can serve only beer or wine, according to the safety report.
There were 70 arrests for alcohol violations on campus in 2015 compared to 38 in 2014, a rise that approaches the 2013 number of 89 cases. Drug violations also spiked dramatically, with 17 on-campus arrests in 2015 -- an 183-percent increase over 2014, when there were six arrests, according to the safety and security report.
In another category of arrests, for weapons possession, there were four arrests in 2015 compared to two in 2014; there were four in 2013.
A number of other crimes on campus dropped in the past year, in some cases significantly so. For the second straight year the campus had no robberies, with one off-campus incident in 2014. And aggravated assaults, of which there were 10 in 2014, plunged to zero in 2015, according to the report.
Of nonviolent crimes, burglaries are still down, at roughly half of their 2013 numbers. There were 94 incidents in 2013, 49 in 2014 and 54 in 2015 on campus. Twenty of the 2015 incidents occurred in student residences. Thefts of motor vehicles and golf carts also continued to rise from 17 in 2013 to 36 in 2015. Four cases were unfounded, according to the report.
The university received two hate crime reports in 2015. One incident involved swastikas painted on walls of two student residences; the other involved a person riding his bike through a group playing miniature golf on campus. One of the players raised his golf club as if to hit the cyclists while using a homophobic slur, which was characterized as an attempted simple assault based on sexual orientation.
View the full report here.