Violent sex crimes against women are on the rise at Las Positas College, according to campus security 2015-2017 Annual Security Report.
The federally mandated report stated that there were six cases of violent forcible sex acts on campus in 2017. The year before, there were three acts of dating violence reported: two on campus and one off campus.
A spokesperson for the district, Guiselle Nunez, said the reported on-campus crimes are being investigated by local law enforcement to verify the accuracy, and investigate if a crime occurred. The only way to know if a crime occurred is to verify the information with the local police department, she said.
The ASR was released as part of the federally mandated Jeanne Clery Act under the Higher Education Act of 1965. It requires all colleges and universities to disclose “certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies.” It was born out of the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery at Lehigh University in 1986.
At LPC, the eight crimes against students are considered criminal offenses under the Clery act. The reality is the statistics don’t always tell the whole story, and there is no safety in numbers — even low ones, according to the American Association of University Women.
According to an AAUW study, the numbers don’t tell the full story on sexual assaults on women on college campuses. In fact, colleges often under report sexual violations by not reporting any assaults at all, the AAUW study said.
While the AAWU report cites a low number of sexual assaults reported across campuses nationwide, another report in a 2014 Forbes magazine article says that the Clery act has forced campuses to be extra vigilant in reporting on-campus crimes. Or face a $54,789 fine by the U.S. Department of Education.
“To avoid such fines, colleges go to considerable lengths to remain on the good side of federal bureaucrats, but that entails extra expense,” according to the Forbes article.
The Clery Act has come under criticism, however, including the University of California, San Diego. The Triton, the student-run newspaper, ran “UCSD’s Clery report misrepresents sexual violence” in June. The Triton details how sex crimes on campus are underreported and that the “annual security and fire safety report is not an accurate representation of sexual assault and harassment on campus.”
The story goes on to say that most victims of sexual attacks do not report the attacks because they “felt powerless at institutions that do nothing to protect their students.” At LPC, when the Express asked if the assailants in the reported attacks were arrested, who they were, the district responded that under federal guidelines, such information is available only through local law enforcement.
A recent article in the Washington Post backs the ‘protect the institution’ philosophy. According to the Post article, of all the rape cases reported over the year, less than 1 percent are prosecuted, leaving victims without justice.
While the safety of every LPC student is paramount, the Clery report does not detail how students can stay safe, other than to be aware of their surroundings, and then give a list of numbers to call, including campus security, local law enforcement and 9-1-1.
As for sexual violence or abuse, the Clery report says, “Awareness is the best tool for avoidance of sexual assault. Student and employee orientations, announcements, staff meetings, classroom discussions, and other means will be utilized periodically to inform students and staff of this issue.”
Guisselle Nunez — the director of PR, marketing and government relations for the District — said cooperation and involvement from students is essential for crime prevention. According to the 2015-16 ASR, students and employees must assume responsibility for their personal safety and the security of their personal belongings, only listing some common sense precautions as prevention tactics.
Las Positas and Chabot both offer escort security services year-round, according to Nunez, and they also encourage the buddy system. However, students at Las Positas are seemingly not taking advantage of the service. Nunez stated that Chabot provided 77 escorts last year and 25 escorts so far this academic year. LPC generally averages five to ten requests per month. Both campus safety offices promote the service during College Day, on posters around campus, meeting student groups and events.
At the same time, Chabot offers annual training in the form of “Denim Day, sexual assault prevention training, bystander intervention, and more,” Nunez said.
You can report incidents anonymously online through the college’s website or visit the campus safety office in room 1725. To request an escort to your car or for any other questions, you can call campus security at (925) 424-1690.