12 Sexual Assault Reports At USD In Three Years
October 1, 2010, 5:52 PM
VERMILLION, SD -
The University of South Dakota had more reports of sex offenses during the past three years than any other public university in the state. New crime statistics show that USD had 12 sexual assaults from 2007 to 2009. During that same time period, South Dakota State reported three sexual assaults.
Both universities released their most recent crime reports this week. And while USD had four times as many sexual assaults reported, they say it shows they've built trust among students to report a crime that often goes unmentioned.
"Even my parents tell me to walk in groups, and all the faculty members advise us to, and it's just kind of common sense to do that," USD freshman MacKenzie Mears said.
Personal safety is an issue on any college campus, but at USD, the one dozen sexual assaults reported during the last three years is a concern.
"When we talk about any report of sexual assault, it's something the university pays close attention to, of what we can do to keep our community safe," USD Dean of Students James Parker said.
Parker says the university puts an emphasis on educating their students about sexual assaults, and he believes that's why there are more reports on campus.
"Much of the research will indicate that the more sexual assault education you do, the more actual reports you will see because students become more comfortable to come in and share the information," Parker said.
And USD students say school officials are open at talking to them about safety and how to report crimes when they see them.
"It's kind of common sense things too, but sometimes it's nice to be re-informed of what you should be doing to keep everyone safe," USD freshman Kyle Kunde said.
School officials say that communication with students is important because crimes can't be prevented unless they are reported.
"You don't want anyone to go through a personal emergency. But if they do go through a personal emergency, I feel good that our students feel comfortable and have someone they can go talk to get the appropriate resources and help to get them through that circumstance," Parker said.
So how do USD and SDSU stack up against the state's other public universities?
Black Hills State reported four sexual assaults in its most recent report. The South Dakota School of Mines had one, and Dakota State and Northern State didn't report any sex offenses.
© 2010 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.