SaVE Act requires more details for sexual harassment

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    Papers cover the desk, the shelves and the computer keyboard in the office of TCU Police Chief Steven McGee. A large stack of binders and spirals sit on a leather reclining chair away from the desk.

    “That’s my Clery stack,” McGee said.

    He’s referring to the Clery Act, a federal law that requires campuses to keep a public crime log and publish an annual security report by Oct. 1 every year.

    This year, there’s more paperwork. The Clery Act was amended when the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act was signed into law in May 2013.

    The SaVE act requires college campuses to be more specific about sexual harassment crimes in their annual reports.

    “They’ve added new categories, like harassment and stalking, which normally wasn’t reported before,” McGee said. 

    According to the Clery Center website, “SaVE requires that incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking be disclosed in annual campus crime statistic reports.”

    The more detailed reporting is meant to give a better representation of the safety of a campus.

    “We had two incidents last year, in 2013, that will be reported this year, where girls were on the jogging trail and someone slapped them on the behind,” said TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham.

    Those incidents will now be reported as forced fondling instead of the broader and potentially misleading category of sexual assault.

    McGee said he thinks the breakdowns still don’t go far enough.

    According to TCU’s 2012 report, there were 11 forcible sex offenses.

    “That 11 doesn’t tell you if they’re strange rapes, or acquaintance rapes,” McGee said. “To me, if you really want to do it right you ought to break that down. The biggest problem we have is acquaintance rapes. We don’t have the guy that’s preying on women grabbing them on the jogging trail or something.”

    TCU police added a footnote to the 2012 report explaining that nine were acquaintance rape and two were forced fondling.

    Graphic design major Yessie Ortiz said reporting data can only do so much.

    “I think it will help students be more aware of what happens,” Ortiz said. “But I don’t think it will prevent anything.”

    McGee said TCU posted information about sexual assault incidents before SaVE was passed.

    “On our crime log, we’ve had all that on there anyhow,” McGee said. “This just adds those new categories to our annual report.”

    Ham said the new categories could have clarified the nature of past crimes.

    “[In the past], stalking may have fallen under harassment, dating violence may have fallen under of simple assault,” Ham said. 

    The SaVE act also includes guidelines about how to submit crime data to the federal register. However, McGee says the instructions aren’t clear yet.

    “The rules aren’t final yet and they don’t think they’ll be final until November,” McGee said. “The deadline is October 1. They sent us a letter saying ‘we expect you to follow it in good faith’. I’ve contacted other schools to say, ‘How are y’all doing it?’ and they usually say ‘We’re working on it.’”

    However, TCU plans to submit the report on time.

    “We plan to be 100 percent in compliance by October 1,” Ham said.