Editorial changes in coverage of Campus Safety reports


Graphic by Yolanda Chow

The weekly Campus Safety reports are a staple in every issue of Chimes. Usually, the reports are minor alcohol offenses, and students read and laugh at the Beets-Veenstra (or any dorm for that matter) resident dumb enough to walk down her or his hallway with a fifth in tow and nothing to hide it.

But not all campus crimes are a laughing matter. Campus Safety handles hard drug, sexual assault and rape cases on campus every year, but these reports hardly ever make it to Chimes’ print issues, and it’s not because of any cover-up on Campus Safety’s part. To our knowledge, they have been diligent in following the law of logging on-campus crimes by forwarding the reports to Chimes before we send the paper to the printer every Wednesday and by updating the Calvin website.

But Campus Safety can only send us the reports they know about at the time. Oftentimes, third parties like the Office of Student Conduct handle reports of cases like sexual assault and rape before briefing Campus Safety. Afterward, Campus Safety updates the Clery Act Public Crime Log on the Calvin website. “When I get my crime stats from [the Office of Student Conduct], we try and make sure they get lined up properly,” Director of Campus Safety William Corner commented. “Once I’m made aware of them, I go back, and I add them to the crime log.”

 This means that any violations of campus safety reported to campus safety after the daily reports they send us are entered according to the date the violation occurred, not the time of reporting.

The editors of Chimes have made a decision regarding how we will communicate the Campus Safety reports. As a result of our old way of covering Campus Safety reports, we have failed to communicate serious campus crimes, including alleged rape, to our readers. As the editors of Chimes, we believe each and every student should readily know that during the 2018 yearly crime report, according to the Clery Act Public Crime Log, three alleged accounts of rape were reported. 

As editors, it was and is our responsibility to ensure these crimes, and similar violations, find their way to the Calvin community’s knowledge. 

Violations occasionally slip through our reports because they were reported to campus safety, and thus to us, after the week the crimes occurred. The community should have ready and easy access to this information; we don’t imagine or expect students to use their limited free time to scroll through the rather boring Clery logs. That’s why we make the information easily accessible in every issue. 

Therefore, Chimes will implement a new policy: each quarter (twice a semester) we will compare our reports to those reported online to look for any discrepancies. These will then be collected and reported in the “Quarterly Campus Safety Report.” 

For readers who would like to check the Clery Log for themselves on the website, they can go to calvin.edu and search “Campus Safety” in the search bar. On the right-hand side of the page, they should click “CLERY ACT” to take them to a page with a set of links to prior reports.