Dartmouth reports fewer rapes in 2019

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/28/2020 8:46:54 PM
Modified: 12/28/2020 8:46:50 PM

HANOVER — The number of rapes reported at Dartmouth College last year dropped by over 15%, according to annual statistics released this month by the college.

Dartmouth College Title IX coordinator Kristi Clemens said the drop in reported rapes, from 39 in 2018 to 33 in 2019, is likely because the number of reports in 2018 was unnaturally high.

“We saw increased reporting due to transition in our office as well as reporting related to the PBS investigation,” Clemens wrote in an email Monday, referring to a highly publicized lawsuit filed against Dartmouth over allegations of sexual misconduct in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

The lawsuit, filed by current or former students in the department in 2018, accused three tenured professors of misconduct and the school of turning a blind eye. All three professors were forced out and a federal judge this summer approved  a $14 million settlement between Dartmouth and the students

Partly due to national coverage of the lawsuit, Clemens said that several alumnae reported rapes in 2018 that had actually occurred years earlier.

“In 2019 the reporting seems to have leveled off,” she added.

The statistics were laid out this month in the annual Security and Fire Safety Report — also known as the Clery report — which details the different types of offenses reported on campus in the prior calendar year.

The report is typically published in October but was delayed until mid-December this year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the college.

The offenses, which include rapes, sexual assaults and domestic violence cases as well as other, non-violent offenses, are broken down into reports made at on-campus versus off-campus buildings.

However, the definition of “on-campus” has changed over the past year, according to Safety and Security Director Keysi Montas. A Clery report expert recently reviewed the college’s program and determined that Dartmouth should expand its definition of “core campus” buildings for this year’s report, he said.

“What we call the core campus became larger,” Montas said. “With that came 26 facilities that used to count as ‘non-campus,’ which now became ‘on campus’ facilities.”

The school retroactively amended some of the previous years’ statistics to more accurately reflect which offenses were reported at the newly defined “core campus.”

Montas said those amendments did not have a significant impact on the actual number of reports made in previous years.

Reports of some offenses, including aggravated assaults, burglaries and arrests for liquor violations, took a dive in 2019.

But others spiked, including domestic violence incidents, which nearly doubled in 2019, from eight to 14 reports, according to the Clery report.

Clemens said in an email Monday that’s due to a change in state law, and as a result, a “reorientation” of how the college is counting dating and domestic violence reports.

“It is related to New Hampshire law and how basically all dating violence would be considered domestic violence under New Hampshire State law,” Clemens wrote. “I don’t have any information that would indicate a change in prevalence.”

In addition to crime statistics, the Clery report also includes changes the college made last year to combat on- and off-campus crime. The report mentions a 2019 directive, requiring all faculty and staff to undergo training on preventing sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence.

Another step described in the report is a “sexual and gender-based misconduct policy,” which Dartmouth adopted in 2019 and which prohibits a number of behaviors including sexual harassment, stalking and sexual exploitation.

Anna Merriman can be reached at amerriman@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.




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