DOE investigates colleges’ crime reporting

The U.S. Department of Education conducted inquiries into campus crimereporting practices at both The College of New Jersey and Bowling GreenState University this year.

The College of New Jersey was selected for review because of a professor’scomplaint that the college had not reported three sexual assaults on campusduring the 1996-97 academic year. The investigation concluded that campuscrime statistic reports for three years — 1996, 1997 and 1998 — wereinaccurate because they did not contain some incidents of reportable sexoffenses and were not reconcilable to campus police investigation reports.

The discrepancies were caused by “honest mistakes that resulted frominconsistent record-keeping and high staff turnover,” according to collegepresident Barbara Gitenstein’s response to the DOE report.

The campus police force conducted an internal investigation after theDOE investigation was finished, said Jesse Rosenblum, associate vice presidentfor college relations.

“We could find no evidence of suppression of information, except forthose clerical errors,” he said.

In December, Security on Campus, a nonprofit group that advocates increasedcampus crime reporting, asked the DOE to investigate possible underreportingof campus crime at Bowling Green State University because of a student’scomplaint.

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 DanielCarter, senior vice president of Security on Campus.

According to the letter, BGSU did assure the DOE that the complaintwas investigated and residence hall staff received additional trainingin proper reporting procedures.