October 26, 2023 | NEWS | By Marynn Krull
On Sept. 29, Colorado College Campus Safety sent the 2022 Campus Safety and Fire Safety Annual Security Report to the Colorado College community. The report indicated that zero sexual assaults occurred on campus in the 2022 calendar year.
After an inquiry by The Catalyst, the office sent a revised report on Oct. 14, before filing the final version with the federal government. The revised version noted three sexual assault reports that were not previously included.
Campus Safety neglected to say whether they would issue a statement to the campus community about the revision but says the online link to the report is now updated.
The 1990 Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires all colleges receiving federal funding to produce an annual security report with data from on campus and surrounding areas to students and employees by Oct. 1.
Noncompliance and misreporting can entail fines of up to $62,689 per Clery Act violation.
Campus Safety compiles the report with numerical data from Campus Safety reports, the Colorado Springs Police Department, the Campus Advocate and the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX. Additionally, Campus Safety requests data from the Teller and Saguache County Sheriff’s Offices to include crime statistics around the Baca Campus and CC Cabin.
“Clery is a report that we provide annually as part of meeting our federal guidelines for campus, and we’re always looking at the numbers and information that we gather to make sure that we can make the most accurate report possible,” said Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management Cathy Buckley.
At least some of the sexual assault reports that were included in the revised version came from the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, though the particulars of the additional reports are confidential.
“My understanding was there was just a little bit of miscommunication around the development of the report this year,” said Joshua Isringhausen, Assistant Director for Civil Rights and Interim Title IX Coordinator.
When former Assistant Vice President for Civil Rights Tashana Taylor left her position last year, Isringhausen said it was not clearly established who would send sexual assault data to Campus Safety for the report.
Campus Safety, the Campus Advocate and the Office of Title IX are scheduling time to talk about how to streamline the process and prevent similar issues in the future.
Even with the additional sexual assaults, the Clery report points to a downward trend of sexual assault reports that meet Clery criteria on campus.
The report sorts crimes into three geographic categories.
On-campus offenses encompass any building or property owned or controlled by Colorado College within the same contiguous area used by Colorado College in relation to the institution’s educational purposes.
Non-campus offenses encompass any building or property other than the main campus frequently used by students and in direct support of the institution’s educational purposes, but not within the contiguous area of the institution.
Public property offenses encompass all public property immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus.
There were seven on-campus sex offenses in 2018, 11 on-campus sex offenses in 2019, five on-campus sex offenses in 2020, and one on-campus sex offense in 2021. There was one non-campus offense in 2019, four non-campus offenses in 2020, zero non-campus offenses in 2021, and zero non-campus offenses in 2022.
But Buckley and Isringhausen say the Clery report is not a comprehensive representation of sexual assaults on campus.
“The Clery report has very specific language tied to it, which dramatically reduces the types of things that our office [includes],” Isringhausen said.
“Sometimes things fit into one area, and they don’t fit into another [based on Clery definitions] so we make sure that what is being provided to us fits into the right category, as this is federal reporting,” Buckley explained.
Isringhausen also said that some victims don’t report until years after the assault occurs, which means that Clery reports for the most recent year are not always reflective of all reports made about that year. Clery reports comprise data from three calendar years, which means data for previous years is gradually updated over time.
“Certainly, we receive many more reports than what are reflected there,” Isringhausen said. “I think that is something we need to be more transparent about – what our total numbers actually look like.”
Campus Advocate and Assistant Director of the Wellness Resource Center Cassie Luna says the Clery report doesn’t offer a full picture of sexual violence on campus, that does not account for unreported assaults, other behaviors that Clery does not recognize as sexual assault or violence that occurs off campus but still has effects in the community.
In 2016 the American Association of University Women conducted an analysis of 11,000 college campuses, which found that 77% did not disclose a single sexual assault, despite, “numerous studies showing that campus rape is common.”
The association said the data “speaks to the inadequacy of reporting structures rather than the frequency of the events.”
A Vector Solutions study conducted earlier this year of 458,000 students at 383 United States colleges found that among those who experienced sexual assault, only 6% told campus or local police, 7% told a college employee and just 3% went to an on-campus crisis center.
Isringhausen said there are many reasons why students may not report to Title IX, noting a lack of trust in the process, the ways that the investigation process can be re-traumatizing and a misunderstanding of the work of Title IX.
“One of the big issues that we have is that folks are uncomfortable meeting with us, and that’s perfectly understandable. I don’t think anybody ever has to tell their story, and I don’t think that there’s ever any right or wrong way to seek support and seek resolution,” Isringhausen said. “I think that requires us to do a lot of education around what changes we’re making [and] being more transparent about how the process works.”
There is not currently a formal channel for students to provide feedback to the Title IX office, Isringhausen says, but they’re hoping to change this. Additionally, Isringhausen says the office hopes to work with student groups and the Wellness Resource Center to increase education and build trust with the community.
“I can very confidently say, based on my experience interacting with the [Colorado College] community, that the zero reported sexual assaults [do] not accurately represent the reality of life as a college student here,” said Nico Brubaker ’26 about the initial report released by Campus Safety.
In 2017, Colorado College opted to participate in the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey. 765 students participated, encompassing about 36% of the student body. The survey found that of female-identifying participants, 41% of seniors, 21% of juniors, 21% of sophomores, and 10% of first years reported experiencing sexual assault. Of male-identifying participants, 19% of seniors, 14% of juniors, 12% of sophomores, and 7% of first years reported experiencing sexual assault.
These figures were significantly higher than other similarly sized institutions which participated in the survey.
“[Sexual assault] is a bigger social issue that we’re not exempt from. We’re not special,” Brubaker said. “I think it’s a little shady that they tried to cover it up and make it seem like we are special that rubs me the wrong way. It undermines my faith in the administration.”
Luna says this something the Wellness Resource Center hopes to address by the end of the year. By producing an annual report with numerical data received by their office that that provides more context about sexual violence on campus for the community. Luna hopes to provide a more comprehensive picture of sexual violence on campus for the community.
“We should, as a campus, know what’s going on. It shouldn’t be a secret,” Luna said. “Sexual violence is so stigmatized. It’s really important to name things and to name what’s going on.”