This archived article was written by: Alexander Holt
2016 may be the darkest year ever in terms of sexual assault for both Utah State University and Utah State University Eastern, according to the Clery Act, a report that requires colleges and universities that receive federal aid to file a public annual security report every Oct. 1
USU had 22 accounts of rape and over 20 accounts of sexual assaults reported, up from only six accounts of rape and two accounts of sexual assault in 2015.
USUE had four accounts of rape and two accounts of sexual assaults reported, again up from two accounts of rape and no accounts of sexual assault in 2015.
Despite these numbers, this is nowhere close to the actual amount of rape and sexual assaults that actually occur on campus according several surveys conducted across the state.
According to a survey in August, 2017, USU reported that 1 in 10 female students say they have experienced sexual assault. This means that 7.4 percent of female students or approximately 2,072 of USU’s 28,000 have experienced unwanted sexual contact, far more than the 20 accounts reported with the Clery Act Report.
The survey reported the percentages of victims at the university who use student support services including 23 percent for counseling, 11 for medical care, seven for advocacy services and six for other accommodations. With these low percentages, USU President Noelle Cockett in September said that is “heart-wrenching” that many victims do not use these services.
The university conducted another survey that showed that more than half of all students in the USU system (which includes USUE) don’t know how to report sexual assault and rape, which coincides with the fact that USU has one of the lowest reporting rates in the state.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, USU Media Relations Director Eric Warren stated that, “It became pretty clear that many students don’t know what services are out there for them if they’re victims.”
This survey went on to report that only five percent of victims have formal reported complaints to the university.
This situation seems to be even worse considering that Utah’s reporting rate is 9.8 percent, meaning that only 9.8 percent of rapes and sexual assaults are reported, according to the Rape Recovery Center in Salt Lake City.
Reporting Sexual Assault and rape across the state is important, as these numbers show, and this is only part of the problem as there are other colleges and universities in Utah that have equal or worse reporting systems. This needs to be addressed and fast.