Of the 10 largest four-year public universities in Ohio, Ohio University had the second most rape and sexual assault reports in 2016. 

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to annually release statistics on crime and security policies. In its latest report, OU counted 42 reports of on-campus sexual assault at the Athens campus.

Ohio State University reported the most with a total of 83. OSU also had the steepest increase in reports from 2015 to 2016: In 2015, the school had 38 reports on its Columbus campus, fewer than half the number of reports campus police received there in 2016.

But even though OSU counted nearly double the number of sexual assault reports OU did, its sexual assault report rate is lower per student because of the number of students enrolled on its campus.

OU’s sexual assault report rate is higher than rates at other large four-year public universities in Ohio. Though OU had the second highest number of sexual assault reports of similar universities, it has only the fourth-highest enrollment.

OU counted 42 sexual assaults during 2016 on its Athens campus. The Athens campus enrollment was 24,210 students in 2016. That means for every thousand students, about 1.7 sexual assaults were reported.

According to the 2016 numbers, OU had the highest sexual assault report rate of the five largest public four-year Ohio universities. Of OU, OSU, Kent State University, University of Cincinnati and University of Akron, OSU had the next highest rate with about 1.4 sexual assaults per 1,000 students at its Columbus campus.

Kent State had just under 0.9 reported sexual assaults per 1,000 Kent campus students. UC had 0.7 sexual assault reports per 1,000 students. Akron had about 0.5 reports across campuses. 

Those numbers do not necessarily mean that OU is a more dangerous school. Actual sexual assault rates are difficult to predict because so few survivors report the crimes against them to police. A report by the Justice Department found that only 20 percent of campus sexual assault victims report to police.

Therefore, OU’s high reporting rate could actually indicate more students feel comfortable reporting sexual assault to authorities. According to a previous Post report, OU Police Chief Andrew Powers said he does not think the increase in sexual assault reports from 2015 to 2016 is due to an increase in actual incidents.

“We do know that sexual assaults are among the most underreported crimes, so we think this is an increase in reporting rather than an increase in occurrence,” he said in an email. “This is a trend we saw last year as well.”

@baileygallion

bg272614@ohio.edu

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