House Education Committee on Bill 1400 requiring colleges and universities to
report crimes to local law enforcement agency
Brandon: Speaking in Support of the Bill
Thank you for the opportunity to testify in favor of the
proposed bill to require local police to investigate crimes on college
campuses. My name is Craig Brandon and I live in
Between 1995 and 2007 I was advisor to the student newspaper at Keene State College and during that time the Campus Safety office did everything it could to prevent my student journalists from reporting about crimes on campus. Although the law requires public access to the campus police log, for example, Campus Safety’s policy was to refuse access to it. Instead the office provided an edited version created for the students in which all the crime reports were removed.
The reason for this, as I point out in my book, is that colleges have a conflict of interest when it comes to reporting campus crimes. Their interest in investigating and reporting crimes is always secondary to their prime interest in marketing themselves to tuition-paying customers. Since no parents would send their child to a college with high crime rates, administrators insist that campus safety offices keep their crime report numbers as low as possible. In addition, colleges are reluctant to take any action against their student customers, the perpetrators of most campus crimes.
They cover up crimes in two ways. First of all, they regularly turn away students who attempt to file crime reports. When a camera was stolen by a student at the newspaper I was not allowed to file a crime report because I didn’t have the serial number of the camera. That is NOT how criminal justice is supposed to work. Real police officers write up reports for everyone who wants to report a crime. They don’t turn away crime victims. Campus Safety’s reasoning was that there would not be enough evidence to pursue the case, but that is not a decision police officers are supposed to make. Real police collect and report all information regarding complaints of crimes.
My students interviewed rape victims who attempted to
file a crime report but were turned away by campus safety when the victims
admitted they had been drinking when the rape occurred. Since they could not
give sober testimony, they were told by campus safety, they were not permitted
to file a report. Many of my female students said they were aware of this
“policy” and knew of many students who failed to report rapes because they had
been drinking. Yet
The other way campus safety offices cover up crimes is to
distribute false and inaccurate crime statistics that are much lower than the
actual numbers. Investigations at college campuses across the country have
exposed this practice. In
A report last month from the Center for Public Integrity called “Sexual Assault on Campus” found that one in five college women have been the victims of rape or attempted rape while they were in college and that 95 percent of campus sexual assaults were never reported. Part of the reason for this was that college safety offices often tried to talk victims out of filing a crime report in an attempt to keep their crime numbers as low as possible.
As part of the research for my book I contacted rape counseling centers at colleges around the country and asked them how many victims they saw. The average response was about 12 per month, yet when I compared those numbers to the official crime statistics at the same college, the numbers ranged from zero to four for the entire year. Date rape drugs called “roofies” are easily available on campus and fraternity brothers frequently brag about the number of women they have raped on campus with little fear of being caught and punished.
I realize that my testimony conflicts with that made by
campus safety offices around the state, who maintained that there were little
or no crimes committed on their campuses. To get to the truth I would suggest
that you ask the state attorney general to audit the records of the campus
safety offices of the state’s three primary party schools:
If students were aware of how dangerous
I urge you to adopt this bill as a first step toward
protecting the thousands of students who attend college in