GVSU releases Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

New statistics show decrease in reported on-campus rapes

By Emily Doran | 9/25/17 9:40am

According to statistics from the Grand Valley State University 2017 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, released Monday, Sept. 25, the reported number of on-campus rapes went down from 2015 to 2016. 

At GVSU, there were 15 reported on-campus rapes in 2015 and three in 2016. Four of the incidents that were reported in 2015 actually occurred in 2014, however.

The Title IX office at GVSU updated its electronic report-tracking software in August 2016 to better identify and reduce the number of duplicate reports, one potential explanation for the decrease in reported on-campus rapes. Previously, it would have been easier for multiple reports about the same incident to be mislabeled as reports of separate occurrences.

“We have been able to tie some of these reports that we’ve gotten in better since we’ve made the reporting system much more robust,” said Capt. Brandon DeHaan of the GVSU Police Department.

Theresa Rowland, the Title IX coordinator at GVSU, said the updated report-tracking system is better equipped to identify duplicate reports.

“Tracking reports is an important component of a successful response to complaints of sexual misconduct on campus and in providing a timely, fair and equitable process for both the complainant and the respondent,” Rowland said via email. “In February 2015, the Title IX office successfully transitioned report tracking and case management to an electronic format, and in August 2016 invested in a more sophisticated tracking software. Report tracking has become more robust, allowing additional details to better identify duplicate reports.”

This year’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report also features some updates from last year’s. The Victim’s Rights and Options (VRO) section has been updated, and information about how to be an active bystander has been added.

DeHaan urged GVSU community members to visit the VRO website, available at www.gvsu.edu/vro/, to learn more about the resources available for victims of sexual violence. 

“That’s a resource guide for our students, faculty and staff that live, work and learn on the campus,” he said. “Victim’s Rights and Options is a nice vehicle to help educate the Grand Valley community. And yes, we do update information on there as regularly as possible and to make sure that our community is aware of the different initiatives and different options that are available, specifically surrounding these incidents.” 

While the VRO website has always included information about being an active bystander, that information is new to the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report this year. Active bystander intervention training is a prevalent and important part of GVSU campus programming about sexual violence awareness and prevention.

“Being an active bystander is an important role in creating a culture free from sexual violence,” Rowland said. “Including active bystander information in the ASFS report can help increase awareness, options and strategies for responding.

“GVSU continues to offer educational programming to students, as well as resources for impacted parties. We encourage anyone that has experienced sexual violence to report to the police and the university Title IX coordinator, as well as seek victim advocacy in the Center for Women and Gender Equity.”

In addition, per the annual report, liquor law arrests at GVSU increased from 88 in 2015 to 147 in 2016.

To read the full report, visit www.gvsu.edu/gvpd. 

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