July 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

KU IOA Office Reports 5 Times as Many Sexual Assaults as Campus Police

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There is a huge disparity in the way KU’s office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA) reports sexual assaults, and the way the Public Safety Office (PSO) does.

The difference became obvious on Monday when KU’s Daily Kansan ran back to back articles about the reporting of crime on campus in 2017. One article centered on the IOA and the other on the PSO, the police arm of the university.

According to the PSO, as reported in the Kansan, “The number of sex offenses remained the same at five, but there was one additional case of rape in 2017.” From the language it would seem that the rape was one of the five offenses.

If there is a good reason why the IOA and PSO numbers differ, it is not obvious.

The headlines reflect the difference in numbers and tone between the two campus authorities. The headline about the PSO numbers reads, “On-campus crime drops by nearly 13% in 2017, KU PSO crime statistics show.”

The IOA headline on the other hand is marinated in alarmism, “IOA Records: On-campus reports of sexual assault at an all-time high in 2017.” According to the IOA, which is responsible for administering the university’s equal opportunity policies and procedures, “Twenty-five students filed reports saying they were sexually assaulted on campus last year, the most since the University’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access opened in 2012.”

The “25” number cited in the report refers specifically to “sexual assaults,” a phrase that seems, if anything, more intense than the PSO’s “sexual offenses.” In the last six years there have been 82 such assaults reported to the IOA, 64 alleged occurring in campus housing.

Caught in the no-man’s-land between the IOA numbers and the PSO numbers are those students reported to the one but not to the other. An accusation reported to either office guarantees that the student’s name will be blackened, but the IOA does the blackening without much in the way of due process.

One would think that the accused students, almost exclusively male, deserve at least a share of the “equal opportunity” that the IOA is charged with overseeing. The IOA might start by at least trying to reconcile its numbers with the PSO’s. If there is a good reason why the numbers differ, it is not obvious.

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