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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Increased reporting, training has raised number of reported on campus sex offenses

The number of forcible sex offenses reported have gone up in past years.

That increase is due to better reporting of the officers, as well as possibly better education.

According to an email sent by the University, there is an average of 12 sexual assaults on campus reported every calendar year. So far, five forcible sexual offenses were reported for the year 2014. These numbers do not include sexual assaults that occur off-campus.

In 2009, the reported sexual assaults for the year totaled four and in 2010, it was two.

Director of Public Safety Monica Moll said that has to do with a better system of reporting, not a lower number of sexual assaults.

“We have done a better job at having our campus authorities trained to report,” she said.

The emails are a part of the University trying to educate the students.

Dean of Students Jodi Webb said the email that was sent last Friday was not in relation to any particular incident, but because October is one of the peak times sexual assaults are reported on campus.

“We sent the email to be proactive to students,” she said. “And try to encourage them to think about their actions and understand how their actions are perceived.”

She also wanted students to know about the services available to them incase something would happen.

When a sexual assault is reported, a number of different things can happen. If the suspect, perpetrator or victim was a student, then the University gets involved with an investigation that would be separate from any police investigation.

It is apart of Webb’s job to manage any sexual assault report that comes forward from a student code of conduct standpoint.

“We would try to connect the student to resources and be an advocate for them if they need assistance as well,” she said.

For the perpetrator, if found guilty, can be punished through a wide variety of sanctions.

If the victim wishes, they can have the University Police involved as well. That is when the police will conduct their own investigation, which is separate from the Dean of Students.

However, not every student wishes to get police involved or even report the incident.

“We try to encourage student to report to police, but only a small amount come to us because they don’t feel comfortable,” Moll said.

The University finds a balance between respecting the student’s privacy while protecting the school.

“Of course, our first priority are the victims,” said Senior Communications Director David Kielmeyer.

However, Moll said, there is a balance between supporting the victim and protecting the campus.

“Many times after they get resources and time to think about it, the victims want to come forward,” she said.

Also, the number of forcible sex offenses for this year seems low so far, Moll said.

“It’s hard to tell, we will need to see the impact over several years before we can see a trend,” she said.

Webb said the thinks the number will go up before the year ends, but hopes it won’t.

“I would hope we won’t [see an increase] and I would hope to see a sign of a positive trend,” she said. “But we will continue to educate students.”

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