Clery Report Shows Decrease in Reported Sexual Assault Incidents at Pomona

On Oct. 1, 2016, the Claremont Colleges released their 2015 Clery Reports on crime at each college, which indicated, among other statistics, that Pomona College was the only school that experienced a decline in the number of rapes reported from 2014 to 2015. However, some Pomona administrators worry that this statistic may project an incomplete and inaccurate picture.

Each college in the United States that receives federal financial aid is mandated by the Clery Act to compile and release an annual campus security report detailing the numbers of certain types of crimes reported to the college during each calendar year, according to Pomona Associate Dean and Title IX Coordinator Daren Mooko.

The number of reported rapes at Pomona declined from the 2014 Clery Report to the 2015 report, from 15 incidents in 2014 to six in 2015. However, Mooko expressed concerns regarding the reason the number of reported incidents decreased.

“I think we need to look at that number very critically and not jump to the conclusion that the actual number of assaults went down on campus, but rather that the number of people who’ve come forward to make a report went down," Mooko said. "It’s that latter dynamic that’s concerning to us."

According to Mooko, in spring 2015, Pomona experienced significant student critique of the administration’s response to and handling of reports of sexual assault on campus. Mooko believes that it may have been decreased confidence in the administration, rather than a decrease in the number of assaults on campus, that led to fewer reports of rape on Pomona’s campus in 2015.

“One of the things that I worry about when I look at the decline in reporting is what effect, if any, did that controversy have on our students’ confidence in the college in making reports,” Mooko said.

According to Mooko, Pomona worked throughout 2015 to revise and improve its policies on sexual assault to restore student confidence in the college, including replacing faculty and staff adjudication panels with external adjudicators unaffiliated with Pomona and outlining clearer penalties for sexual assault.

In August 2015, Pomona also launched the online Callisto program, which gives students a variety of tools to anonymously report sexual assaults, as part of a pilot program planned before the spring 2015 controversy.

“I think we made good decisions” in the revision of Pomona’s sexual assault policies, Mooko said. Mooko said that he hopes the revision of Pomona’s sexual assault policies will help restore student confidence.

Sexual assault is a problem across the 5Cs, with a total of 39 reported rapes and 17 reported incidents of "fondling" at the 5Cs in 2015. In response, Campus Safety has instituted a variety of new programs and initiatives to help prevent and handle reports of sexual assault.

“Over the course of the summer, we provided some excellent additional training to our staff that included additional skills for dealing with relationship-based violence, sexual assault reporting, expanding our investigations and interviewing, among other key elements,” Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL.

Campus Safety has also revised its patrol programming and worked to increase the options for sexual assault reporting for Claremont Consortium students, including a new online reporting platform.

“[The new online platform] is important, because the success of the program, and the courage of those willing to report these events either through a confidential [campus security authority] interview, or with us or in reporting the crime to the police, are all indicative of the larger set of resources and options campus community members have to report these incidents in a manner that is most comfortable for them,” Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL.

Rape is not the only crime statistic reported in the Clery Reports. The reports also indicate that there were 17 incidents of "fondling", 63 burglaries, 20 motor vehicle thefts, seven instances of dating violence, two incidents of domestic violence, two incidents of stalking, and one hate crime reported at the 5Cs in 2015.

To address crime at the 5Cs, Campus Safety has introduced two new cars, an electric scooter, and three patrol bicycles to is fleet, an iPad program for officers, and additional cameras and alarms across the 5Cs, as well as additional training for officers, according to Skipworth.

“Over the summer we added extensive training courses on the subjects of relationship violence investigations, dignitary protection support, and social justice issues and safety. Most importantly, we've shared these training courses and others with our colleagues across the campuses,” Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL.

The full Clery Reports for each of the 5Cs, as well as Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute, can be found at http://www.cuc.claremont.edu/campussafety/reports.asp.