Crime on Campus

February 4, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 5
Are colleges doing enough to keep students safe?
By Peter Katel


Grieving students at Northern Illinois University (Getty Images/Scott Olson)
Grieving students at Northern Illinois University watch a memorial service for five students slain inside a lecture hall on Feb. 14, 2008, by graduate student Stephen Kazmierczak. A series of mass shootings has struck campuses in the past two decades. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)

A federal law requires colleges and universities to report the number of major crimes that occur on their campuses each year, but critics say the data fail to give a complete picture of offenses committed by or against students, particularly sexual assaults. On the whole, college students are safer than their nonstudent counterparts. Still, the annual data don't include many off-campus crimes and others not reported by victims. What's more, the law, known as the Clery Act, exempts campus counselors from having to report the number of alleged sexual assaults and other possible crimes students tell them about. Critics argue that some administrators resist disclosing the extent of campus crimes to protect the image of their institutions. But some college officials are acknowledging the perils of campus crime and putting new emphasis on teaching students to head off potential danger. They are focusing in part on binge drinking, which has been shown to have a strong link to sexual assaults.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Colleges and Universities
May 20, 2022  Free Speech on Campus
Dec. 04, 2020  Graduates' Prospects
Sep. 11, 2020  Higher Education in the COVID Era
Oct. 26, 2018  Issues in Higher Education
Nov. 20, 2015  Greek Life on Campus
May 08, 2015  Free Speech on Campus
Jan. 02, 2015  College Rankings
Jan. 18, 2013  Future of Public Universities
Feb. 04, 2011  Crime on Campus
Jan. 07, 2011  Career Colleges
Apr. 21, 2000  Community Colleges
Feb. 16, 1996  Academic Politics
Jan. 05, 1990  What Should College Students Be Taught?
Jul. 27, 1984  Colleges in the 1980s
Jan. 23, 1981  Plight of America's Black Colleges
Apr. 11, 1980  College Admissions
Sep. 06, 1974  College Recruiting
Mar. 01, 1974  Academic Tenure
Sep. 14, 1966  Graduate School Crush
Students and Social Life