Quinnipiac’s 2018 safety report released

Clery report shows increase in hate crimes, rape and burglaries

By on October 2, 2019

Austin Calvo participated in a debate for Student Government Association (SGA) president last spring in the Carl Hansen Student Center mere feet from where he says a poster of his had been defaced with crude imagery and homophobic slurs just hours before. He hid away his water bottle covered in stickers and opted for a much plainer one.

“I was planning to just have my water bottle with me on stage, but I ended up buying a clear Aquafina water bottle from the cafe,” Calvo said. “I didn’t want to have it on stage and have people think that I was, like I’m very open, and proud of who I am. But in that moment, it was just like, I didn’t want to. I felt intimidated. I didn’t want to do anything that was going to make me seem too gay.”

Calvo’s story is becoming increasingly common.Quinnipiac’s annual safety and fire report, also known as the Clery report, was released on Sunday, Sept. 23, showing an increase in hate crimes in 2018.

Janna Marnell
Janna Marnell
Calvo decided to not report the 2019 incident, mainly because he wanted to focus on campaigning. He says that in 2017, someone had vandalized one of his posters while he was running for class president. Calvo says that he did report that incident, although it does not appear in the university’s Clery report. SGA has not taken up a formal opinion on the rise in hate crimes.

The report also shows a steep drop in liquor law violations, but an increase in reported burglaries, rapes and drug arrests.

Statistics go back three years, allowing readers to see trends. Liquor law violations dropped from 436 in 2017 to 327 in 2018. Drug law violation referrals dropped slightly from 172 to 170, but drug arrests rose from seven to 17.

Reports of other serious crimes increased. There were three instances of rape in 2018 compared to two in 2017. Burglaries increased from nine to 13. There were five total hate crimes in 2018, which is more than 2017 and 2016 combined.

The report defines a hate crime involving vandalism as, “To willfully or maliciously destroy, damage, deface or otherwise injure real or personal property without the consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it.”

The hate crimes included three acts of vandalism relating to sexual orientation and two acts of intimidation against someone based on race. They all took place in student residences on the Mount Carmel campus.

Karoline Keith, Quinnipiac’s Clery compliance officer, said that there are a wide variety of reasons as to why some reported incidents, such as Calvo’s reported 2017 incident, do not make it into the Clery report. She said that mistakes can be due to a lack of coordination between departments, where the incident was originally filed or a misidentification by someone. She also swore to look into the incident.

The Clery report defines intimidation with a hate crime bias as “To unlawfully place another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.”

Details show that over 90% of all reported crime at Quinnipiac took place on the Mount Carmel campus and the rest took place on the York Hill campus. There were no reported incidents on the North Haven campus in 2018.

Keith says that some statistics can be misleading and stem from a misunderstanding of the crimes.

“We run into confusion with burglary because our officers think burglaries are like, kick the door in and go in and go steal something,” Keith said. “But it’s being in a place that you reasonably know you don’t have a right to be. If they go into the common area and take a wallet and then go into a bedroom with the door propped open and take a wallet, that’s two burglaries because they entered into the common area, they didn’t have a right to be in and then they entered into the room they didn’t have the right to be in.”

Fire safety was a strong suit in 2018. Reported fires are normally a rarity in the report, but this year there was not a single one. There were a few reported fires in student housing in 2017, including one act of arson in Commons and one large cooking fire in Whitney Village that caused over $10,000 in damages.

“I double checked that with our fire marshall because I just thought, ‘That’s weird,’” Keith said. “So we have like burnt popcorn and things like that, but (in terms of) something in a trash can that caught on fire we had nothing. None. So we feel good about that.”

Keith hopes that one day crimes such as hazing and sexual harassment will appear in the report as a way to better help people understand the amount and types of crimes that take place on college campuses.

The university is required by law to disclose the crime and fire report every year under the Clery Act. The act is named after Lehigh University student Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her college dorm in 1986. Her parents, believing that Lehigh University had been underreporting crime and that their daughter had died due to poor campus security, began to campaign for laws requiring colleges to disclose crime statistics.

Four years later, the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act was signed into law. It was renamed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act in 1998.

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