Occidental releases 2022 Clery Report and Title IX office report

Courtesy of Alexandra Fulcher

Content warning: This article contains discussions of sexual assault on campus.

Alexandra Fulcher, Occidental’s Civil Rights & Title IX coordinator, released the 2022 Clery Report, also known as the Annual Fire Safety & Security Report (AFSSR), as well as the 2021-22 Civil Rights & Title IX Office Annual Report, in a Sept. 30 email to the student body. According to Fulcher, both reports present crime statistics at Occidental. This most recent Clery Report covers the previous calendar year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, while the Title IX report tracks data from the previous academic year, from Aug. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022. The reports also differ in area covered and crime categories — the Clery Report looks solely at on-campus offenses, while the Title IX report looks on-campus, off-campus and online incidents. However, the Clery Report includes more offense categories, from homicide to alcohol rule violations, while the Title IX report only looks at sexual and interpersonal offenses.

Publishing the Clery Report annually is mandatory for all American universities that receive federal funding, according to the Clery Center, a nonprofit advocacy group. Named in memory of Jeanne Clery, the Clery Report must be made available to the college community by Oct. 1 of each year. It must include college policies and the three previous calendar years’ statistics on criminal offenses, hate crimes, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses, as well as arrests and disciplinary referrals. Fulcher said the Clery Report is co-authored by her office, as well as Campus Safety and the Office of Student Conduct.

The first 96 pages of the 2022 Clery Report are very similar to the 2021 and 2020 reports, as these pages provide Occidental’s policies on matters like sexual misconduct, alcohol and drugs. Following the policies are side-by-side comparisons of crime statistics from the previous three years. The 2021 Clery Report, for example, showed lower rates of on-campus crime during remote semesters. The 2022 report, which includes data from 2019 to 2021, shows that certain incidents’ frequencies have increased to pre-pandemic levels.

Specifically, rape and fondling have a high case count in the 2022 report compared to other categories, at five cases of rape and six for fondling in 2021. The report documents one case of rape and no reported fondling in 2020, and it documents eight reported cases of rape and three of fondling in 2019. The 2022 report also sees an increase in stalking, at six cases, compared to one case in 2020 and zero in 2019.

According to Rick Tanksley, director of campus safety, different departments on campus tend to specialize in reporting and handling different categories of cases.

“With sex-related crimes, people can go directly to Ms. Fulcher’s office to report those; they can bypass campus safety,” Tanksley said. “If there are drug or alcohol violations, RAs or RDs [resident directors] can report those crimes.”

According to the report, there has been a significant increase in on-campus liquor law violations with 32 counts in 2021, compared to just eight in 2020. Still, the figure is considerably lower than 2019, which tallied 98 cases.

Since the Title IX Report specifically focuses on sexual and interpersonal offenses, Occidental’s responsible employees are an important source for documentation, according to Fulcher. Responsible employees are also mandatory reporters at the state level or at certain other institutions. Mandatory reporters must report any cases of sexual or interpersonal offenses, whether they hear about them or directly observe them. Fulcher said most Occidental staff, faculty and administrators, as well as certain groups of students such as RAs and O-Team leaders, are responsible employees who must report.

There are also exceptions, called confidential employees. According to Fulcher, the confidential resources at Occidental are Emmons counseling services, Project SAFE, the 24/7 hotline and the Rev. Dr. Susan Young at the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life.

Sex-related offenses in the Title IX Report are considerably higher than in the Clery Report, with 16 counts of rape as opposed to five in the Clery Report, and 14 cases of fondling compared to six in the Clery Report. The reasons for such discrepancy can be twofold: the Title IX Report counted 21 cases of sexual offenses off-campus, while the Clery Report is limited to campus property; additionally, the Title IX Report includes two in-person semesters (Fall 2021 and Spring 2022), while the Clery Report includes only one (Fall 2021).

“Outside Scope of Policy” is by far the largest category at 51 counts. According to the report, this category includes offenses such as non-consensual touching of shoulders or a single sexist comment, which do not constitute violations of the college’s Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy.

Additionally, Fulcher said her office can examine cases from before the current statistical year, which are also counted into the report. For example, from the 2021-22 Title IX report, the office examined a sexual offense that took place in 1973 but was not discovered until 2021.

“For that far back, it’s kind of unusual. But it’s not unusual for us to get cases from the 2000s or the early 2010s,” Fulcher said.

According to Fulcher, sexual offense survivors have a range of resolutions they can choose to follow, from no action against the perpetrator to a formal complaint, which can result in disciplinary actions, the most severe being expulsion from the College. Out of the 70 actionable sexual offenses that the Title IX office processed in 2021-22, in 22 cases the victims did not respond to follow-up inquiries, and in 14 cases the victims requested nothing to be done.

“If a professor’s like, ‘A student told me they experienced something traumatic over the weekend,’ I don’t have enough information to put it in any category,” Fulcher said. “But a lot of the time, those [students] never meet with me, so I’m not able to gather additional information.”

In five out of 70 cases, the complainants — students who experienced misconduct — chose adaptable resolution, a structured option that allows parties to propose their own remedies, according to the Title IX report. Examples include, but are not limited to, training, reflection, extension of a no-contact directive or restriction from specific student organizations. Fulcher said that while most cases take 60 to 90 days from report to resolution, adaptable resolutions have a much more variable time frame as the resolution depends largely on the specific case and the wishes of the complainant.

“If it’s a situation where they’ve elected to do a restorative circle or conference, we might outsource that, because we don’t have any in-house facilitators,” Fulcher said. “Sometimes, it can be that the parties come up with an agreement, through me, about like, ‘Here’s how we’re going to co-exist on campus moving forward.'”

Tanksley said he encourages students to report all crimes and misconduct to Campus Safety, so his department can devise strategies if certain offenses appear to be patterns. For sexual offenses, students can reach out to the Civil Rights and Title IX office or, should they need confidentiality, to Project SAFE. Elizabeth Denny, director of Project SAFE, said she noticed more students coming in following her office’s campus-wide sex education and outreach efforts.

“A lot of people have felt safer to come and talk about their experiences, so I think it’s really important to keep up the education on toxic relationships, sexual violence and sexual misconduct,” Denny said.

Contact Alex Lin at ylin3@oxy.edu