Reported cases of rape on Emory’s campus dropped over 80 percent from 2014 to 2015 while drug-related arrests on campus more than doubled in the same time period, according to Emory’s 2016 Annual Security Report released last Friday. The report also details Emory’s various University policies.
While 25 on-campus rapes were reported in 2014, four on-campus rapes were reported in 2015. Emory reported 13 on-campus rapes in 2013. Lynell Cadray, associate vice provost for equity and inclusion, said that it was difficult to pinpoint what caused the drop from 2014 to 2015.
“We’d like to attribute it to all the great work we’re doing, but we can’t underestimate the lack of reporting that exists on campus,” Cadray said. “It’s very intimidating for any student to even think about reporting, but we’re trying to make sure that we’re developing processes that make students feel comfortable doing so.”
Last year’s Campus Climate Survey indicated that Emory has an issue with under-reporting, Cadray said. According to the survey’s responses, around 61 percent of sexual assault victims report their assaults .
For that reason, Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA) Co-president and College senior Jocelyn Hong said the drop in reported incidents is more concerning than reassuring.
“Studies say that when sexual assault totals are close to zero, there’s usually a lot of under-reporting,” Hong said. “I think the drop represents a red flag more than anything else.”
Hong and SAPA Co-president and College senior Emma Kern agreed that increased education and resources can help address a campus culture that creates an unfriendly environment for reporting sexual assault.
Kern believes education would best alleviate the culture of intimidation surrounding sexual assault.
“Intimidation about the process comes from a lack of knowledge about the rights and processes involved in reporting,” Kern said. “By helping students better understand the process, I think survivors would feel more comfortable reporting.”
For the most part, Cadray and Judith Pannell, Emory’s Title IX coordinator for students, agreed with Hong and Kern. Cadray and Pannell have made increased Title IX education their goal for this year.
“We want to educate, but we also want to listen to the needs of our community,” Pannell said. “We want students and the community as a whole to know what the school can do.”
According to Cadray, Office of Equity and Inclusion staff is planning to augment its use of data collected from surveys like the Campus Climate Survey to determine its next steps.
Cadray and Pannell said complying with Title IX doesn’t mean simply checking a box— it’s about bringing together the law and the Emory community.
“As long as we have sexual violence, we will always work to improve things,” Cadray said. “We are guided both by law and by the spirit of Emory, which drive us to continual improvement. They can fit together and we are working to find that union.”
The 107 percent increase in drug-related arrests represents the other major change in statistics between 2014 and 2015. While there were 13 drug-related arrests in 2014, Emory reported 27 drug-related arrests in 2015. According to Associate Vice President for Public Safety Craig Watson, the jump was not due to any policy change implemented by the Emory Police Department (EPD).
“There’s no real significance to the jump in arrests, other than that arrests jumped,” Watson said. “We’re not running a heightened program. We just happened to catch more people with drugs this past year.”
Watson said that “Drug Law Violation Disciplinary Referrals” are cases handled by Campus Life, and he clarified the difference between arrests and referrals. If an EPD officer catches someone with drugs, they get a citation, which counts as an arrest. If a Residence Advisor (RA) catches someone in their dorm room with drugs, Watson said that person would probably get reported to Campus Life. Those count as referrals.
Someone who is arrested has to appear in state court, but those who get a referral don’t have to, Watson said. Emory handles liquor law violations in a similar manner, he said.
Watson identified education as a top priority for EPD in the coming year. EPD’s current efforts to connect with the community include programs like “Coffee with a Cop” and “Operation ID.”. “Coffee with a Cop” is designed to allow Emory students to get to know EPD officers in a capacity outside their badge, and “Operation ID” seeks to register laptops’ and cellphones’ serial numbers with the EPD in case they go missing or get stolen.
Cadray expressed optimism about the report and strong belief in both University President Claire E. Sterk and Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Stuart Zola.
“There has never been a better time to be at Emory,” Cadray said. “The levels of support we have from both President Sterk and Interim Provost Zola — we are very fortunate to have them as leaders and to have their support for [the Office of Equity and Inclusion]. They are going to provide resources to us.”
Watson added that he believes that Emory is a safe campus.
“The [2016 Annual Security] Report should give people a tool to see the totality of the institution,” Watson said. “I feel excellent about the state of campus security … We are not immune from crime, but people should and do feel safe.”