DOE investigates colleges' crime reporting

Inquiry finds some sex offenses left out of N.J. school's annual statistics

The College of New Jersey was selected for review because of a professor's complaint that the college had not reported three sexual assaults on campus during the 1996-97 academic year. The investigation concluded that campus crime statistic reports for three years -- 1996, 1997 and 1998 -- were inaccurate because they did not contain some incidents of reportable sex offenses and were not reconcilable to campus police investigation reports.

The discrepancies were caused by "honest mistakes that resulted from inconsistent record-keeping and high staff turnover," according to college president Barbara Gitenstein's response to the DOE report.

The campus police force conducted an internal investigation after the DOE investigation was finished, said Jesse Rosenblum, associate vice president for college relations.

"We could find no evidence of suppression of information, except for those clerical errors," he said.

In December, Security on Campus, a nonprofit group that advocates increased campus crime reporting, asked the DOE to investigate possible underreporting of campus crime at Bowling Green State University because of a student's complaint.

However, the DOE was "not able to determine specific events of non-compliance" at the university, according to a letter from the Chicago office to Daniel Carter, senior vice president of Security on Campus.

According to the letter, BGSU did assure the DOE that the complaint was investigated and residence hall staff received additional training in proper reporting procedures.

reports, Spring 2001