Emory University’s annual Clery Report, released via a University-wide email from Emory Police Department (EPD) Chief Cheryl Elliott on Sept. 30, indicated slight decreases in reported instances of rape, fondling and aggravated assault, but increases in reported instances of burglary, motor vehicle theft and drug law violation disciplinary referrals compared to the previous year on the Atlanta campus. 

The Clery Act defines on-campus locations as “any building or property owned or controlled by an institution within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the institution in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the institution’s educational purposes, including residence halls.”

All institutions participating in federal financial assistance programs are required to report  security and fire safety data. This year’s report reflects data collected by EPD and Campus Life from January 2021 to December 2021. This timeframe includes a decreased student presence on campus — just first-years and select other students were invited back to campus for the 2020-21 academic year.

“Emory’s top priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff and we strive to foster a campus environment where everyone is valued, celebrated and protected,” Assistant Director of University Communications Rachel Smith wrote in an email to the Wheel. “It’s important to remember that the data in this annual report typically fluctuates from year to year in response to human behavior. The pandemic may have also contributed to changes in this year’s data.” 

Photo Courtesy of Emory University

Fondling, rape and stalking 

There were seven reported cases of fondling on the Atlanta campus in 2021, down four from the previous year. The Oxford campus had no reports of fondling in both 2020 and 2021.

The Clery Act defines fondling as “the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purposes of sexual gratification without the concent of the victim.” 

Reported rape, on the Atlanta campus also decreased from nine in 2020 to six in 2021, but increased on the Oxford campus, from one in 2020 to two in 2021. 

“Emory encourages students and all members of our community to report any incidents of sexual violence or misconduct,” Smith wrote. “We know many survivors choose not to come forward, and we are looking at how we can make them feel supported when reporting these incidents. Emory’s Department of Title IX provides support and resources for anyone impacted by sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence, and we encourage anyone who has been impacted by these acts to learn more about their rights and options, or to seek support services.” 

Stalking — a Violence Against Women Act offense — decreased on the Atlanta campus as well, from 19 reported cases in 2020 to 12 reported incidents in 2021. The Oxford campus had no reports of stalking in 2021, down from the one reported case in 2020. 

The Clery Act defines stalking as “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.”

Hate crimes

There were nine reported hate crime cases on the Atlanta campus in 2021, but no reported hate crimes on the Oxford campus. A hate crime involves “a criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim,” the Clery Act states

According to the Clery Report, the hate crimes on the Atlanta campus in 2021 included: one burglary, one property damage case and one intimidation incident characterized by religious bias, two intimidation incidents and two property damage cases characterized by racial bias, one larceny occurrence characterized by sexual orientation bias and one assault characterized by national origin bias.   

This is an increase from the five hate crime incidents reported in 2020, which included two intimidation incidents characterized by national origin bias, as well as two assault incidents and one intimidation incident characterized by racial bias. There were no hate crimes reported on the Oxford campus in 2020.

“Emory reported nine hate crimes last year and this data reflects an increase in reported hate crimes across the country,” Smith said. “The majority of the incidents at Emory fall into the categories of Zoombombing, graffiti or damage to plaques. We know these incidents hurt our community and Emory remains focused on fostering a safe and inclusive campus for everyone, while upholding our values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Burglary, motor vehicle theft 

Burglary, characterized by the Clery Act as “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft,” increased by 262.5% on the Atlanta campus, from eight reported incidents in 2020 to 29 reported incidents in 2021. Likewise, reports of motor vehicle theft increased from three incidents in 2020 to five incidents in 2021. 

“In some categories, such as burglary, the number of reported incidents is on par with what Emory experienced prior to the pandemic,” Smith wrote. 

On the Oxford campus, both burglary and motor vehicle theft decreased from 2020 to 2021. The Oxford campus experienced two reported burglaries and one reported motor vehicle theft in 2020, but had no reports of these offenses in 2021.

Drug, alcohol, illegal weapon disciplinary referrals

While there were no drug law arrests on the Atlanta campus in 2021, drug law violation disciplinary referrals increased 166.67%, from nine reported referrals in 2020 to 24 in 2021. There were also no liquor law arrests in 2021, and liquor law violation disciplinary referrals decreased 25.86%, from 174 reports in 2020 to 129 in 2021. 

Contrastingly, Oxford’s drug law violation disciplinary referrals decreased from 18 reported incidents in 2020 to zero in 2021, but liquor law violation disciplinary referrals increased 70.27%, from 37 reports in 2020 to 63 in 2021. 

Unlike in 2020, there was one report of an illegal weapon possession disciplinary referral in 2021 on both the Atlanta campus and the Oxford campus. 

Arson, fire safety

Similarly, there was one arson case reported on the Atlanta campus in 2021, up from zero reported arson incidents the previous year. The Oxford campus had no reports of arson in 2020 and 2021.

The report also includes fire safety information, detailing incidents that are not necessarily criminal offenses. 

The Atlanta campus saw five reported fires in on-campus student housing facilities in 2021. Four of the fires were unintentional and resulted from cooking, with each of the incidents amounting from $0 to $99 in property damage. The fifth reported fire was intentional, described in the report as “books set on fire in animal cruelty incident.” This fire resulted in $2,000 to $5,999 in property damage. All fires started in Clairmont Campus residential facilities. 

Two unintentional cooking fires were reported in Oxford’s residence halls — one in Haygood Hall and one in Murdy Hall. Both resulted in $0 to $99 in property damage.