Alcohol Biggest Factor in Crime Incidents on College Campus

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AMES, Iowa- The Iowa Board of Regents has sponsored a Campus Security and Safety Summit on the Campus of Iowa State University.

The event drew campus officials, and campus police departments from colleges all over Iowa.

Much of the morning session focused on compliance with the Cleary Act. This is a long time federal regulation in the Department of Education which requires accurate reporting of campus crime. That would be assaults, sexual assaults, hate crimes, as well as vandalism.

“Something that can bring together all the different partners that we have ensuring the campuses stay safe,” said Rachel Johnson, the student member of the Iowa Board of Regents, who chairs the Campus Safety and Security Committee of the Board of Regents. “There’s a lot of different guidance that we receive from the federal Department of Education, and the Office of Civil Rights, there so many different pieces and regulations that we have to follow.”

Reporting of crime numbers must be accurate, or schools could face hefty fines. The schools also must find a solution for any safety problems, which federal investigators find.

Morning keynote speaker, Michael Webster, who is a campus safety consultant said the major cause of any campus crime is the use of alcohol.

“Statistics say that many, many sexual assaults are co-occuring with alcohol,” said Webster. “Alcohol is also a contributing factor in assaults, alcohol is a contributing factor in disruptions, and disorderly offenses, and public nuisance offenses.”

Webster said he does not have an easy way to change what has become part of our culture.

“Alcohol factors so much, it is so common in our culture that alcohol is viewed as a right of passage in higher education,” said Webster.

“I personally feel very safe on campus and I think that’s due to all the hard work that our professionals are doing every day,” said Johnson. “This is a Board Priority and it has been for quite a while, we have representatives from Student Life, Title IX, and Campus Police working together.’