Texas Legislator weighs in on Clery report

Texas+State+detailed+numerous+instances+of+underreported+crime+statistics+on+campus+between+2016-2018+in+its+Annual+Security+Report.+Now%2C+the+state%E2%80%94as+well+as+the+campus+community%E2%80%94is+taking+notice.
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Texas Legislator weighs in on Clery report

Texas State detailed numerous instances of underreported crime statistics on campus between 2016-2018 in its Annual Security Report. Now, the state—as well as the campus community—is taking notice.

Texas State detailed numerous instances of underreported crime statistics on campus between 2016-2018 in its Annual Security Report. Now, the state—as well as the campus community—is taking notice.

Jaden Edison

Texas State detailed numerous instances of underreported crime statistics on campus between 2016-2018 in its Annual Security Report. Now, the state—as well as the campus community—is taking notice.

Jaden Edison

Jaden Edison

Texas State detailed numerous instances of underreported crime statistics on campus between 2016-2018 in its Annual Security Report. Now, the state—as well as the campus community—is taking notice.

Jakob Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief

At least one Texas legislator has called for changes in reporting practices across Texas institutions.

Texas State detailed numerous instances of underreported crime statistics on campus between 2016-2018 in its Annual Security Report. Now, the state—as well as the campus community—is taking notice.

Texas State Rep. Chris Turner addressed a letter to the Texas Commissioner for Higher Education Harrison Keller, citing Texas State’s failure to report rapes, liquor law violations and stalking among other issues that occurred in 2016 and 2017.

The letter between the two comes after Texas State tallied 57 rapes from 2016-2018. An additional 29 rapes were left off of Texas State’s previous years’ Annual Security Report, formerly known as “Campus Watch.” Turner stated in the letter that addressing sexual assault on college campuses is a “priority” of the Texas legislature.

“Two measures that passed in the 86th Legislature, HB1735 and SB 212, include a focus on reporting improvements,” Turner’s letter to Keller stated. “Currently, your agency is considering rulemaking for these new laws and I would urge you to keep instances of deficient reporting practices in mind as you draft rules to improve the system and better protect Texas students.”

The report, now known as the Annual Security Report, was made available to all current students, faculty and staff at 5:35 p.m. Sept. 30.

Reported liquor law violations for Texas State—both on and off campus—on the revised statistics for the Clery reportable years of 2016 and 2017 rose from seven total in 2016 and 2017 to 312 for the same time period.

Additionally, instances of stalking—previously reported three times both on and off campus in 2016 and 2017—rose to nine instances of reported stalking and was reported eight times in 2018 alone.

Texas State staff members revisited police reports from the two years in question to ensure reports were classified correctly as a part of a reported “university-wide process.” According to a university press release, this process will seek to ensure accurate crime statistics in the future.

Turner noted in his letter to Keller that during the legislative interim, the House Committee on Higher Education would be closely monitoring rulemaking for all higher education legislation passed in the last session.

“As we do, it will be important to review prior reporting practices at institutions to ensure there are no other instances of misreporting and to identify any remaining gaps,” Turner’s letter stated.

Faculty Senate Chairwoman at Texas State Janet Bezner said she and the rest of the Faculty Senate found the discrepancies in the report to be a serious and alarming revelation.

“It’s been a communication, collaboration and resource issue,” Bezner said. “The right entities did not have an effective way to communicate with one another and there wasn’t collaboration between the right entities to get the right data. I think either the people who were responsible for the data didn’t have enough training or there weren’t enough people working on the issue.”

Bezner said she along with and members of Faculty Senate encouraged university administration to be transparent about the issue, but said the matter of consistency in reporting aligns with trends at the institution itself in adequate resource management.

“If indeed this responsibility was under resourced, that’s something I think is a trend at Texas State,” Bezner said. “We’ve experienced tremendous growth over the last decade and made it clear that we want to be a R1 institution. (We) Continually have (asked) the administration, ‘are we adequately resourced to make this jump?’”

The University Star will continue its coverage of the Annual Security Report and deficiencies associated with previously reported years. Got a tip? Reach out to [email protected]

 

 

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