Ohio's public colleges and universities submit crime reports, but not without challenges

Reports mandatory under the Clery Act
Posted at 9:43 AM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 09:57:44-04

COLUMBUS -- Colleges and universities in Ohio are submitting updated reports detailing crimes committed on campuses.

Ohio’s 37 public colleges and universities have until Oct. 1 of every year to submit the reports under the Clery Act, a federal mandate to report campus crime statistics and policies for campus security.

The offenses in each school’s report include homicides, sex crimes including rape, thefts, burglaries and hate crimes for the previous three years.

Although the reports are mandatory, Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost says a number of the colleges and universities face challenges fulfilling the federal mandate.

“The Clery Act is a massive, complicated federal law, and our public institutions tell us they often struggle to comply with the mandates,” Yost said in a written statement.

RELATED: Colleges caught in crossfire of sex assault cases and due process

Yost’s office conducted a 48-question survey to determine the problems that schools face in keeping up with Clery compliance.

According to the survey, colleges and universities identified a lack of resources for Clery training as a top restraint for completing the report. They also point to a lack of time, money and staff to collect data and prepare the reports. Seeking crime reports from off-campus or non-university law enforcement agencies was identified as an ongoing issue as well.

Yost recommends affordable Clery Act compliance training for colleges and universities in the state, and a Clery Act resource center for higher education institutions. He also recommends that schools post daily crime reports online with maps pinpointing where all Clery-reportable crimes took place.

Violations of the Clery Act could result in fines up to $55,000 each, according to Yost.

The report comes as the Republican auditor faces Democrat and former U.S. attorney Steve Dettelbach in the race for attorney general.

Highlights from local colleges and universities

Four Ohio colleges and universities in the Tri-State submitted reports on campus crime and safety:

In 2016, Miami University reported 25 on-campus sex offenses including rape, sodomy and fondling at its Oxford campus. The university reported 14 similar crimes in 2014, and ten in 2015. There has also been an increase in on-campus aggravated assaults, according to Miami University’s 2017 report.

The University of Cincinnati reported 19 cases of rape or fondling on campus in 2016. There were ten reported cases of rape or fondling in 2015 and 2014 on campus.

No homicides occurred at the four schools listed above from 2014 to 2016.

You can see the full list of participating Ohio schools and their corresponding 2017 reports by clicking here.