Barnard and Columbia released their Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports on Tuesday. The reports, mandated by the Clery Act, a federal law that demands disclosure of public safety information, compile statistics on reported instances of crime and fire safety across the University campuses and surrounding areas over the past three calendar years.
Columbia’s report details statistics on the Morningside, Manhattanville, Medical, and Lamont-Doherty campuses as well as the Nevis Laboratories.
Here are five key takeaways from this year’s report.
1. Columbia’s report now pairs Morningside campus crime statistics with those of the Manhattanville campus.
While last year’s fourth appendix detailed crime statistics from only the Morningside campus, this year’s details crime from both Manhattanville and Morningside, seemingly combining the statistics of the two campuses. Although it is not explicitly mentioned, it is possible that this combination might affect the number of reported crimes in the statistics. Statistics of fire detection, as they did last year, appear individually by building with a focus on residence halls.
2. More buildings have been included in the category of “on-campus student housing,” possibly accounting for increases in reported crimes.
While last year’s Columbia report only had one page of buildings in its sixth appendix for fire detection considered as “student housing” on the Morningside campus, this year’s includes four pages. Appendix eight concerning fire safety statistics has also greatly increased the number of buildings. According to a footnote in the crime statistics for Morningside and Manhattanville, this increase was also used in crime statistics. This can be accounted for by considering “mixed use apartment buildings that house students and faculty and/or other tenants” as a part of the statistics. Although this may seem like a trivial fact, Public Safety states that it could contribute to the increase in statistics of reported crimes as the scope of consideration has increased.
3. The number of reported instances of sexual offenses has increased in on-campus student housing.
Last year, it was reported that both Barnard and Columbia saw a dramatic drop of over 50 percent in sexual offenses, Columbia dropping from 12 reported instances of rape in 2015 and 2016 to only five, while Barnard dropped from two in 2016 to zero the next year. In 2018, the University reported that the number of rapes reported in on-campus student housing jumped to nine, while Barnard saw its zero reported instances of rape increase to two.
4. There have been no changes to Columbia’s definition of sexual assault.
Around the time that last year’s report was released, there were concerns that new federal-level changes posed a risk to the way the University would handle instances of sexual assault. Despite potential concerns, the University has not yet changed its definition of sexual assault. Appendices one through three of Columbia’s report, just as they were last year, are dedicated to definitions based on the Clery Act, the University, and New York State Law, respectively. The University uses the exact same language and wording as it did last year to define an instance of sexual assault. The Clery Act also uses the exact same definitions as last year. In fact, it appears that much of these appendices, if not all, remained the same.
5. The number of discipline for drugs and drug referrals has increased at both Columbia and Barnard. Alcohol discipline has slowed.
Last year’s Columbia report saw a dramatic 66 percent increase in discipline for drugs and an even greater 135 percent increase in discipline for alcohol. This year, drug-related discipline increased in 2018 from 178 to 192 instances in on-campus housing, while alcohol-related discipline actually fell from 165 to 116. Barnard, seeing a slight decrease from 15 to 12 drug referrals from 2016 to 2017, actually saw a large increase in 2018 with the number more than doubling to 28. Alcohol referrals at Barnard also increased, but only slightly from 23 in 2017 to 27 in 2018.