Kent State rape reports triple in 2016

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A student walks by a campus emergency phone in front of Olson Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. 

Madison MacArthur

Kent State reported three times as many rapes on campus last year than in 2015, and credited this figure to people being more aware, stepping forward and speaking out about rape.

By Oct. 1 of each year, universities across the nation are required to have a report of crimes on or around campus.

Within most of the crime categories, they remained the same or slightly less frequent than previous years except when it came to sexual assault crimes such as rape, according to the Kent Campus Annual Security Report.

According to the report, there were six sexual assault crimes on campus in 2015, which increased to 18 cases in 2016.

It was also included in the report that the five cases of stalking in 2015 had grown to 11 cases in 2016.

The Council for Home Safety and Security named Kent State the 11th safest campus in the nation in a recent study, crediting the campus as the safest within Ohio.

The rise in sexual assault crimes such as rape is attributed to major factors mentioned in a statement by the university such as increased awareness, access to support services and more people who are willing to step forward and speak out.

“The university has taken proactive measures to educate the Kent State community about these types of crimes and encourage reporting of such incidents,” Dean Tondiglia, Kent State’s police chief and director of public safety, said in the statement released with the report.

The university’s campaign  “See It, State It, Stop It” works in all functions concerning Title IX; however, one of its main focuses is about sexual assault crimes.

Campaigns and student services work to aid students in understanding what the crime is, how to handle it and how to cut it off at the source.

The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is composed of staff and faculty from Psychological Services, the Women’s Clinic at the Health Center, Public Safety, Office of Student Conduct, Title IX and the SRVSS Office.

They serve students through an online question forum “Ask the SART” to answer questions students have regarding health, well-being, safety, university policy and support according to SART’s website.

In a campus-wide climate study done by the university, it was discovered that students feel that the university leaders handle reports of sexual assault seriously and deal with the situation justly for the student involved.

Lamar Hylton, the dean of students in Kent State’s Division of Student Affairs, said in the report that he sees the figure as a step in the right direction. 

“While we never want to see an increase in assaults or other crimes, we continue to do all we can to create an atmosphere that encourages members of our community to report incidents, either to the police, a healthcare provider, student services staff member, faculty member or friend.” 

Madison MacArthur is the safety reporter. Contact her at [email protected]