Infograph by Kiley Distelrath
The Department of Public Safety published The Campus Safety and Fire Safety Report for 2017 on the Pepperdine website Oct. 1, including incidents from all Pepperdine campuses, undergraduate, graduate and abroad. The report covers serious crimes, most notably four sexual assault cases and one hate crime.
The Campus Safety and Fire Safety Report, also known as the Annual Safety Report, or ASR, is required by law under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Safety Policy and Crime Statistics Act of 1998, or the Clery Act. All U.S. colleges and universities under the 1965 Higher Education Act’s (HEA) Title IV financial assistance programs are required to produce this report, according to The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, 2016 edition. This means that if a college accepts Federal Pell Grants or Federal Work Study, for example, they must comply with the act’s measures to report their safety procedures and crime statistics.
The community should take note of the ASR and the weekly crime logs, also required by the Clery Act, Director of Public Safety Dawn Emrich said.
“It’s important because we want all members of our community to be equipped with as much information as possible to do what they need to do to be safe, both personally and their property,” Emrich said.
Pepperdine recorded four sexual assault cases on the Malibu Campus in 2017, Emrich said. These cases are understood in two groupings. The first two cases are joined as one alludes to the other finding of sexual assault. The third and fourth cases include the same victim. All four cases involved the same perpetrator.
The perpetrator was a third-party employee working for a campus vendor who delivered unwanted kisses to the cheek or neck to three students, Emrich wrote in a follow-up email.
Students reported the first two cases in the Tyler Campus Center (TCC) on Aug. 21, 2017, Emrich wrote. After the reporting of the first case, the original reporter mentioned that a friend had experienced a similar occurrence with the same person about two years earlier.
DPS investigated the claim and the friend confirmed it, Emrich wrote. The students reported that one instance happened during the 2014-2015 school year and that one happened in March 2015.
The second group of cases were reported in the TCC on Sept. 7, 2017, by another friend of the original reporter, Emrich wrote. The student said she had experienced unwanted kisses on the cheek by the campus vendor on two instances. The student reported one to have occurred during the spring 2016 semester and one to have occurred during the 2016-2017 school year.
Pepperdine removed the employee from campus, Emrich wrote.
Pepperdine includes these cases in the 2017 ASR because of the date they were reported rather than the time they occurred, Emrich said. This holds true for all cases in the report.
The second notable crime was a hate crime on the Encino Graduate Campus. The crime consisted of an etching of a swastika on a car parked in a public parking lot adjacent to the campus, Emrich said. The owner of the car was not a Pepperdine student and did not want to file a police report. DPS investigated the situation to the best of their ability, but with a lack of evidence, the case was left unsolved.
Despite the reported specified cases, the statistics for crimes on the Malibu Campus have remained fairly consistent, Emrich said. The current ASR reflects the past three years – 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In comparison to 2017, sexual assaults in 2015 and 2016 were zero and two, respectively.
The school reported 14 burglaries on campus in 2017 compared to eight in 2015 and 15 in 2016.
Liquor law violations referred for disciplinary action amounted to 29 in 2017 compared to 30 in 2015 and 14 in 2016.
Drug law violations referred for disciplinary action numbered 19 in 2017 compared to one in 2015 and 14 in 2016.
Illegal weapons possession referred for disciplinary action numbered two in 2017 compared to four in 2015 and three in 2016.
Pepperdine recorded one case of stalking in 2017. The school reported zero cases in 2015 or 2016.
When reflecting on crime and safety on campus, Emrich said all crimes worry her.
“I am concerned about any crime or incident that negatively impacts a member of our community,” Emrich said.
Emrich said she did have a particular concern regarding crimes.
“It’s concerning when somebody experiences a crime that could have been prevented,” Emrich said. “I am sad about any event that is harmful to students physically, emotionally, psychologically.”
The safety report is a standardized report created by many institutions across the U.S. The report reflects security procedures and services, crime prevention programs, sexual misconduct policies, resources and programs, fire safety and crime statistics.
The report is meant to aid students and families in making a confident and accurate decision when choosing a college for the student’s future education, according to the handbook. Students and families can use the reports as “baselines” for comparison between college campuses, Emrich said.
Congress originally implemented the act in 1990 as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, but they renamed it to what it is known as today in memory of Jeanne Clery, a victim of violent sexual assault.
Someone raped and killed Clery in her college residential facility in 1986, according to the Clery Center website. Her parents did not know of the risks present at her college because crime statistics were not recorded for public viewing. Her parents were resources in creating the act that now requires public discourse of campus security.
Emrich said she is always concerned about making sure the measures of the act are correctly followed.
On Pepperdine’s campuses, it is important to DPS and the administration to remain transparent, Emrich said. Another reason for its importance is that it prompts conversation amongst students about their personal safety.
Contents and Definitions
The act requires schools to cover four categories of crimes: criminal offenses, hate crimes, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses, and arrests and referrals for disciplinary action.
The Clery Act defines the crimes within the criminal offenses, hate crimes and arrests and referrals for disciplinary action categories by how the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) defines them, according to the handbook.
Criminal offenses include “Criminal Homicide, including Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter, and Manslaughter by Negligence; Sexual Assault, including Rape, Fondling, Incest and Statutory Rape; Robbery; Aggravated Assault; Burglary; Motor Vehicle Theft; and Arson,” according to the handbook.
Since the Clery Act clearly defines the acts that are under criminal offenses, not all misdemeanors reported on campus are in the ASR.
For example, the report does not record simple battery cases, Emrich said.
Another example of how the Clery Act narrowly defines reported offenses is shown by how it defines “burglary.”
The only burglaries the report reflects are ones that involve unlawful entry within a structure, defined as being something with four walls, a roof and a door, and committed with intent of committing a felony or a theft, according to the handbook.
Theft happening in an area of “open access,” or an area where people have the right to be, is not classified by the Clery Act as burglary and schools therefore do not report such cases in their ASRs.
An instance where this limit is shown would be if stealing occurred within the bookstore, Emrich said. Students and outsiders have access to this building at all times while it is open and is a place of open access.
Schools also do not classify car break-ins as burglaries in the report, Emrich said.
The Clery Act defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim,” according to the handbook.
According to the act, the biases include race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin and disability.
Hate crimes can take form as any of the criminal offenses, as well as in simpler forms that colleges do not ordinarily report, according to the handbook. These include larceny, simple assault, intimidation and property destruction, damage and vandalism.
VAWA crimes are newer additions to the reporting requirements as of 2015, Emrich said. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 amended the Clery Act by adding dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to the required crimes that must be reported, as well as other changes, according to the handbook. Sexual assault, however, is defined by and reported in the criminal offenses category.
The Clery Act defines stalking differently than federal law and holds it at a lower threshold, Emrich said. In the Clery Act, stalking is behavior specified toward an individual that would cause the individual to fear for their safety, the safety of others and/or cause emotional distress, according to the handbook. The penal code defines stalking as conduct with the “ … intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person … ” causing fear of death or emotional distress (§2261A), according to the Stalking Resource Center.
Arrests and referrals for disciplinary action involve incidences with the law, weapons, drugs and alcohol. An important feature to note about the Clery Act is that its basis for defining certain infractions, like weapons and alcohol, follows the laws within the state a campus is located. While Pepperdine’s dry-campus policy punishes any student below or above drinking age, the ASR only takes note of students under the age of 21 caught with alcohol, Emrich said.
The Clery Act requires Pepperdine to report the crimes of all campuses because of its “geography” clause, according to the handbook. This clause requires the school to report instances on-campus, on public property within the parameters of campus or directly across from it and off-campus locations the school utilizes or owns. Schools cannot include instances happening outside of these listed geographies but involving Pepperdine students or staff.
There are a couple other aspects within the report that need defining.
At the end of each campus’s crime statistic log, there is a segment noting, “unfounded cases.” Unfounded cases are cases that are classified as “false or baseless” only after complete and detailed investigations by “sworn or commissioned law enforcement personnel,” according to the handbook. A case is false if the reported crime was never “completed or attempted,” according to the handbook. The case can be found baseless if the claims do not match the reported offense or if the evidence is not criminal by nature.
Areas marked with “NA” mean that there is no data applicable for those areas dealing with that specific crime, Emrich said. For example, there are no residential facilities on the Buenos Aires campus. For each crime segment for Buenos Aires, there are “NAs” within each place requiring data for housing.
The Clery Act requires abroad campuses to submit crime statistics to DPS for the ASR because they constitute part of Pepperdine’s geographies.
Each campus has security services, policies and protocols, and offer crime-prevention education and programs to all IP participants, Greg Muger, director of International Programs, wrote in an email.
The security measures are unique to each campus, Muger wrote. However, every campus has secure doors and security cameras. Students are made aware of local emergency personnel and law enforcement they can contact.
Students also have access to International SOS, a medical and travel security assistance provider, at all hours of the day through telephone or their app, according to Pepperdine’s Emergency Information website.
In reference to crime-prevention programs abroad, Pepperdine and the program staff provide IP participants with many resources.
“All IP participants are afforded the following: provided information about the LiveSafe app, given specific instructions on International SOS support services and how to use them, offered free self-defense classes, take part in two safety presentations, receive alcohol-related safety safety precautions, receive Title IX education and support, and other local resources provided by local program staff,” Muger wrote.
Safety protocols and emergency plans are in line with Malibu’s campus protocols, Muger wrote. Each of the abroad campuses have “customized and extensive” emergency plans.
Students abroad can report crimes to Pepperdine professional staff members, the faculty in residence, the RAs, DPS, through email or phone or through the LiveSafe app, contacting International SOS or contacting local law enforcements and medical responders, among other ways, Muger wrote.
The annual reports for the abroad campuses are basically clean, meaning there are hardly any crime statistics for 2015, 2016 or 2017, besides four liquor violations in Washington, D.C. in 2017, as an example.
In response to the emptiness of their records, Emrich said she was proud of the reputation of the International Programs.
One thing to note, however, is that the IP countries have different liquor laws than the United States, Emrich said. While the reports for the international campuses reflect different liquor age minimums, Pepperdine still upholds its alcohol violation policies abroad.
Other Safety Resources
Another resource available to the Pepperdine community to ensure knowledge of their safety is the weekly crime log. It is also a university requirement of the Clery Act. The weekly crime log covers the last 60 days from the date DPS publishes online.
DPS offers 24-hour security escorts on campus for students, Emrich said. They also head a program called Safe Rides for students who are in an insecure location or situation off-campus. Emrich said DPS never wants a student to feel stranded somewhere and encourages students to call DPS no matter the reason.
Pepperdine also promotes free on-campus self defense classes to students. A training company known as Covered6 pairs with the school and implements these classes collectively known as the A.D.A.P.T., Awareness and Defense Against Physical Treatment, program.
“Your personal safety and your personal empowerment to do what you need to do to be safe is really important to us,” Emrich said.
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