Texas State officials announced Sept. 10, 2019, the campus had misreported Clery reportable offenses on the annual Campus Security Report, formerly, “Campus Watch.”
The university’s response is a measly three paragraphs saying nothing. No mention of the extent to how much data is wrong or which data is incorrect. Posting a few paragraphs on the Texas State internal newsroom that barely touch on the issue is not enough and will never be enough; the damage is done.
The truth is no one—administrator or journalist—can give a true count of Clery Act reportable offenses now or in the past at Texas State because the system in place was at fault.
Moreover, how could it have taken this long to notice something was wrong? In previous versions of “Campus Watch,” University President Denise M. Trauth is nearly front and center representing the university at large.
Trauth has held her position for 17 years and was only alerted to the issue in the first place when the International Association for Campus Law Enforcement Administrator issued a draft of a review, which essentially outlined deficiencies in the report itself.
This is a disgusting display of how administration played hot potato with a topic directly impacting enrollment. The severity of misreporting and nonchalance represented by the university immediately calls into question the safety of our campus community, transparency of the administration and its ability to communicate fault.
Months later, the Department of Education would question 2017 and 2016 numbers, which are currently being reviewed by Texas State staff members. Each police report will be read in full to facilitate and address necessary changes to be reflected in the 2019 report—containing statistics from 2018, 2017 and 2016—published Oct. 1.
Texas State reported nine rapes and seven instances of fondling between 2015 and 2017. These statistics are not just slightly lower than other similar-sized universities, but unbelievably lower.
The University of North Texas reported 32 rapes and 22 instances of fondling. Texas Tech had 24 rapes and seven fondling occurrences.
Both universities are roughly comprised of similar populations as Texas State. The fact university administration was unable to identify a misreporting in offenses for years is unacceptable. Within the date range of reportable dates from 2014-2016, The University Star was able to uncover numerous Clery reportable offenses that went underreported.
We are unaware how far back this underreporting extends but can only hope with new leadership and technical assistance from the Department of Education, Texas State can rebuild the trust of its students and victims.
This was a significant violation of federal law that has the potential to bring heavy financial penalties and yet officials at the university were completely unaware that there was a misreporting of statistics .
Failing to report offenses reeks of insidious conduct and gross negligence, regardless of university employees claiming to be unaware of how reporting went wrong.
Texas State administration has asked for trust and understanding from students regarding how the issue is being handled; misreporting has been identified and is being addressed.
The school is in a seemingly pretend transparency mode. The university made no mention of how badly it had messed up. It only released a generic public relations statement. No one has been held accountable and no one likely will be
If Texas State employees make needed corrections to the data and faultlessly report offenses, the numbers will begin to accurately reflect the safety and occurrences at the university. However, with an incompetent administration willing to bury the truth, it remains to be seen if change can and will occur for the betterment of the student body.
Texas State administrators, do your jobs. We will continue to do ours.