Renewed law requires change in Campus Safety Report

Murray State had four instances of dating violence on campus, one complaint of domestic violence and four reports of stalking on campus in 2013, according to the University’s annual safety report.

This is the first year the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report outlined these crimes, thanks to a change in federal law, said Roy Dunaway, interim chief of Public Safety and emergency management.

The report, released on Oct. 1, includes statistics from 2011, 2012 and 2013.

It is required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dunaway said additions come from Congress’ renew of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) last year.

It is a federal law under Title IX that provides funding for investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women.

The act requires for those found guilty to pay restitution to victims and allows for civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted, according to the White House’s website.

President Bob Davies said he believes Murray State is a safe campus overall.

“One of the key aspects of our University is to always make sure our campus community is safe,” he said. “However, bad things can and do happen, so it is important to promote education and know how to prepare and act in unsafe situations.”

The campus safety report also includes categories of rape, burglary and liquor and drug violations.

Dating violence statistics in 2013 were composed of four incidents reported on campus and two in a residential facilities. Domestic violence incidents reported included one in a residential facility.

Stalking was reported four times on campus and three times at a residential facility.

The number of reported incidents of rape in 2011 were two, one in 2012 and three in 2013.

These numbers are for on-campus and residential facilities.

There has been a slight decrease in burglary incidents from 20 in 2011 to  12 in 2013.

Dunaway said he believes this decline can be attributed to several different causes.

“Education and awareness programs conducted by Public Safety and Housing informing students about the importance of securing their property, increasing reporting of suspicious activity on campus and Murray State Police department’s presence in the residential colleges (have contributed to the decline),” he said.

Liquor violation arrests fluctuated, with 12 on-campus reports in 2011 and zero reports for residential colleges. There were 11 on-campus reports in 2012 and two for residential facilities. Numbers decreased in 2013, with four reports on campus and two for residential facilities.

Drug law violation arrests slightly increased. In 2011 there were 16 on-campus reports and five for residential facilities. In 2012, there were 17 reports on campus and nine for residential facilities.

The slight increase in 2013 was 21 reports for on-campus and 17 for residential facilities.

On-campus reports are classified as any building or property owned or controlled by Murray State and those within the same geographic area, used by the University or in direct support or related to the University’s educational purposes.

Dunaway said the main goal of the report is to provide transparency.

Statistic for the report are gathered from Public Safety, the Housing Office, Student Affairs and law enforcement agencies holding jurisdiction in the location of the regional campuses.

The report included statistics from Fort Campbell, Henderson, Hopkinsville and Breathitt Veterinary Center, Madisonville and Paducah regional campuses.

Dunaway said the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report is not only for students’ awareness, but also for parents and prospective students.

“Murray State and all other universities in the U.S. have an obligation to inform the campus community of possible safety risks and incidents occurring on campus,” Dunaway said.

To the University, it is beneficial across the board.

“(The Campus Safety Report) serves as a way for us to monitor how we are doing as a University. It shows us what we are doing right, what we need to improve on and the areas we need to increase awareness to make sure our campus, students, faculty and staff are safe,” Davies said.

 

Story by Rebecca Walter, News Editor