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Editorial: Report Crimes That Happen on Campus

Since the beginning of the school year, USD has issued three timely warnings about sexual assaults that occurred on or near campus property. Currently, we as a school average one sexual assault per week. Based upon past crime data, that is not a good track record. 

Thanks to the Clery Act, the University Police Department issues an Annual Fire Safety and Security Report at the end of each year. Last year’s report detailed crimes from 2019 to 2021. During those two years, University Police reported one dating violence offence, eight domestic violence offences, three fondling offenses and nine rape offenses. 

In the past three weeks, two sexual assaults occurred at a residence hall on the north side of campus, and another incident occurred at a fraternity house. These events have stirred up public awareness and conversation about sexual assault on campus. What many people don’t know is according to the Vermillion Police Department, the fraternity house sexual assault is not currently under investigation. The Vermillion Police Department did confirm that the sexual assaults that occurred in the dorms are under current investigation. 

These are very delicate situations, and everyone should be reminded that a victim of any crime is not at fault for what happened. With that in mind, it’s important to stress that if a crime happens, the perpetrator can only be brought to justice if the crime is reported to law enforcement. UPD may hear about a crime and be subject to send everyone a timely warning, but in many instances of assaults and other personal injuries, the police can’t investigate the crime if the victim chooses not to report the crime. You may hire your local miami private investigator if you’re more comfortable investigating privately.

Part of attending university is about taking classes and passing them, but perhaps an even more important aspect of university is learning to become the best version of yourself.  Being the best version of who you are requires making good decisions. Ensuring friends know your location and who you’re with is a good first step to avoiding a bad situation. Every one of these sexual assaults reported this year happened between two people who knew each other, not between strangers. Choosing to commit a crime against someone else or be drunk enough to lose control over your actions is unacceptable and unbehavior.

There are countless examples of a time when one person stood up and spoke out about something wrong. Even if a crime report does not bring any charges, putting that statement on the record can be useful in the future. The preamble of the U.S. Constitution begins by saying, “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…” Likewise, we have the power to make USD a more perfect university by choosing to be the best version of ourselves. 

If you are the victim of a crime or witness a crime, you can report a crime or fill out a silent witness form at UPD’s website. Alternatively, their non-emergency phone number is (605) 658-6199. Complaints can also be filed with USD’s Title IX office located at Slagle 205 or by emailing Jean Merkle at [email protected].