New School Releases Crime Stats Report
The New School released its federally mandated 2010 campus crime statistics report this month, revealing only two reported crimes on campus in the 2010 calendar year. The university also retroactively amended an incorrect statistic in the report, listing a sexual assault case in the 2009 figures that was previously unreported to the federal government.
The annual crime report is released in compliance with Clery Act regulations, which require the disclosure of all reported crimes committed on university campuses to the federal government. The New School’s two reported incidents for 2010, both labeled as “forcible sex offenses,” are categorized as taking place in the university’s “student housing facilities.” The university listed no other reported criminal offenses having occurred elsewhere on campus.
“The New School always wants to cooperate fully with the Department of Education as it seeks to understand safety conditions on college campuses,” wrote New School Director of Security Thomas Iliceto in an email to The Free Press.
“In addition,” Iliceto wrote, “transparent recording of these numbers helps The New School understand how it can optimize security resources where they are most needed.”
The Free Press first revealed in April that The New School had overlooked a reported sexual assault at Stuyvesant Park Residence, from Fall 2009, in the crime statistics it had provided to the federal government that year. The offense had been recorded in the university’s public crime log — an internal record of all reported incidents also mandated by the Clery Act — but did not appear in the 2009 campus crime statistics.
“We are aware of one student complaint that was not included in the 2009 crime statistics reported under Clery Act guidelines,” wrote Peter Taback, senior director of communications, in an April 1 email to The Free Press.
The university’s amended 2009 figures now list the previously unreported sexual assault, accompanied by a ‘caveat’ in the report stating that “the university learned of the incident after the reporting deadline and changed the number to reflect the correct incidents for reporting year.”
The underreporting of campus crime statistics to the federal government is a nationwide issue that has gained visibility in recent years. In August, the Department of Education fined Washington State University $82,500 for violating the Clery Act, including the misreporting of two instances of sexual assault from 2007. Yale University and Marshall University are among other schools that were investigated by the Department of Education for Clery Act violations.
Iliceto said that the The New School notified the Department of Education regarding the oversight, reiterating that the offense had taken place after the time frame given to report data to the Department of Education.
“We informed the Department of Education about the error in our data collection, the result of a crime being reported after the submission period, and followed the Department’s guidance about how to correct our data in this year’s reporting time frame,” he wrote in the email.
The chronology of the crime report remains in question. According to The New School’s public crime log, the incident occurred in September 2009. Under the Clery Act, the university had until October 2010 to report it to the federal government. The New School’s security department could not be reached for followup to clarify the reporting chronology.
As of press time, the Department of Education had not responded to Free Press inquiries.