This month, the Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) crime log recorded four allegations of rape, two instances of fondling, five instances of dating violence and one incident of stalking. All incidents occurred on the Webster Groves campus.
All four rape allegations and four out of the five dating violence allegations were reported on the same day, Oct. 7. The incidents occurred sometime in August, according to DPS’s crime log.
The allegations were not reported to the police. Webster Groves Police Lieutenant Andy Miller said no type of sexual offense on the Webster University campus was reported to the station in the month of August. Title IX complainants have a choice of whether to involve the police.
Dating violence and stalking are potential criminal acts with grounds for criminal or civil action, according to the university’s Title IX Policy.
A fondling incident and the fifth dating violence allegation was reported on Oct. 17. Both incidents happened in December of 2018. Webster’s Title IX policy defines dating violence as abuse not limited to sexual or physical abuse by a person in a social, romantic or intimate relationship.
The Title IX office is currently investigating the allegations, according to Patrick Giblin, Webster University’s director of public relations. Public Safety does not publicly log the name of those who reported the incidents in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Rights (FERPA).
As reported in The Journal on Oct. 27, DPS released the 2018 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report on Oct. 1. It showed the number of reported on-campus stalking incidents more than doubled, rising from six reported instances in 2017 to 15 in 2018.
Stalking incidents are not the only Title IX offenses seeing an increase.
In just one month, the new allegations surpassed the number of rape and dating violence reports the university had in the past three years combined. From 2016 to 2018, public safety logged four counts of rape. In the same time frame, the office logged four counts of dating violence.
Neighboring universities vary in numbers of rape allegations. Lindenwood University recorded 17 counts of alleged rape at its campus from 2016 to 2018. The University of Missouri- St. Louis (UMSL) had three rape allegations within the same time frame.
Saint Louis University has had five reports of rape as of Aug. 9.
In its Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, public safety advised the Webster University community to tell the office of any crimes on or off campus.
“The university strongly encourages all members of the campus community (as well as visitors) to promptly and accurately report any criminal or suspicious activity and emergencies to DPS as soon as possible,” the report stated.
Webster community members should also report crimes to the appropriate law enforcement agency, according to DPS. While DPS does not have jurisdiction off campus, DPS is always available to assist callers with determining which local law enforcement agency to contact for assistance, according to its report.
DPS also encourages victims of stalking, dating or domestic violence to report to Kimberley Pert, the interim head of the Title IX office at firstname.lastname@example.org.