The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Campus police withhold information from public

Over the past four years an unknown number of sexual assaultshave occurred at Southern Methodist University. Only a few havebeen reported to campus police.

Of the four assaults reported to SMU Police from 2001 to 2004,only one is listed on the daily activity log that lists summariesof reports filed by the police department.

According to the crime statistics page listed on the SMU PoliceDepartment’s Website, four forcible sex offenses werereported- one in 2001, one in 2002 and two in 2003- all of whichtook place at on-campus residential facilities.

As of May 2, 2004 only one of the four sexual assaults waslisted on the daily activity log for the same period of time,contrasting to the number shown on the statistics page.

The daily activity log recorded no sexual assaults for 2001,2002 and one on April 11, 2003.

Withholding such information could potentially be a deception tostudents and prospective students who could be lead to believe thata school located in the heart of one of the United States’most violent cities could be entirely safe. In April, 35 reportedrapes were committed in Dallas.

The Clery Act required private universities to disclose certaininformation to the public.

All schools receiving federal financial assistance(institutional research grants, federal work-study assistance orother grants for students and National Direct Student Loans) mustkeep and maintain a daily log, written in a form that can be easilyunderstood recording all crimes reported and that is must beavailable for public inspection.

Virtually every post-secondary institution receives some form offederal assistance. SMU falls under this category, making itillegal not to post the information.

If a school does not comply with the Clery Act, it can be fined$25,000 for a single violation and lose its federal funding,according to splc.org, a student resource Website. SPLC (StudentPress Law Center) provides legal advice and information tojournalism students.

Chief Michael Snellgrove of the SMU Police Department declinedto comment to Daily Campus reporters when asked about theconflicting reports on the SMU Police Department website, andwhether or not the Clery Act applied to the university.

Two days following an e-mail sent to Snellgrove about fundingthe university receives and compliance with the act, all dailyactivity logs from 2001-2003 were removed from the Website, leavingonly logs from 2004.

A notice was posted at the top of the page stating that anyother part of the daily activity log older than 60 days will bemade available for public inspection within two business days uponrequest.

“Pursuant to the Clery Act compliance requirement 34 CFR668.46(f), the Daily Crime Log is for recording all criminalincidents that are reported to the SMU Police Department.

“Under this requirement, the following information isrequired to be listed in the Daily Crime Log: Nature of the Crime,Date/Time Crime Occurred, General Location of the Crime,Disposition of the complaint,” according to a statementposted on the daily activity log that was last updated May 3,2004.

Changes were made to the Website in preparation for the releaseof the yearly statistics, Sgt. Christine Rodriguez said.

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