CUSAS screens schools by assembling data from the U.S. Department of Education on campus crime reported to the federal government in compliance with the Clery Act as well as complaints to its Office for Civil Rights (OCR). We have added data on civil litigation tracked by KC Johnson, the noted scholar and activist on issues of campus justice.
CUSAS screens schools with atypically high rates of reported sex crimes. Next, we screen for schools with legal troubles due to their treatment of students. Then, we consider other reports that indicate a climate of accusation. Schools with highest rates of reported incidents in the Clery data as well as multiple cases in the OCR or the civil courts are flagged for the highest level of concern.
- Single sex schools and schools with ratios of greater than 5:1 of either men or women
- Schools with less than 750 students
- Crime data for campuses of universities with satellite locations is consolidated when demographic data for these institutions is also consolidated by the US. Department of Education.
We use the 3-year average of reported incidents in the U.S. Department of Education’s campus safety data. We do not use the 3-year average for enrollment. Instead, we use the most recent year because enrollment does not fluctuate greatly from year to year.
National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics’s NCVS attempts to capture the real incidence of crime (as distinguished from the reported rate) by conducting interviews. The most recent report on sexual assault victimization among college aged women is here. Sexual assault is under reported. The NCVS tells us that the real rate is much higher than the reported rate. The rate for college aged women is considerably higher than for women overall.
Comparing NCVS to Clery data
NCVS calculates a rate per 1000 women. This number is an estimate of the real rate. The actual rate may be higher or lower. Also, it is an overall rate; the rate among different communities or demographic groups may vary. NCVS’s estimated annual rate of rape is 2 per 1000 college aged women currently enrolled. But we recognize the following:
- The school year is only 8 months
- Sexual assault occurs disproportionately in summer months when school is usually not in session
- Some sexual assault of college aged women currently enrolled is unrelated to college attendance.
Thus, in comparing the NCVS to college-based rates, we make an adjustment to the annual rate of 2.0 to arrive at an estimate of the real rate of 1.33 per 1000 women for an 8-month year. We compare this seasonally adjusted rate of 1.33 per 1000 women to the three-year average for incidents on a campus, expressed as a reported rate per 1000 women. But we recognize the following:
- Not all reporters on campus are women. Men may also report.
- Enrollment does not represent the entire community because both victims and perpetrators may be employees or visitors.
- Some sexual assault of college aged women currently enrolled may be related to the education but happen off campus in, for instance, off-campus housing. These incidents would not be counted in the school’s statistics.