CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – According to the latest Clery Report which tracks crime on college campuses nationwide, the amount of reported sexual assaults and dating violence incidents on Coastal Carolina’s campus were up in 2018 compared to the year before.
According to the report, there were 13 reported sexual assaults on CCU’s campus in 2017, and 21 reported cases on campus in 2018.
Anna Beck, a student at CCU and the founder of Help Save the Next Girl, a student-led group aimed to provide support to sexual assault survivors, says the rise in reported cases doesn’t surprise her.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of more sexual assaults happening, I think it’s more that students are feeling more compelled to report,” Beck said.
Beck says society’s open discussions about sexual assault have encouraged more survivors to come forward, especially on college campuses.
“Students feel like they can open up to their councilors or any of the deans or dean of students, or sometimes telling their teachers is how it gets reported, so it’s creating a community where we can talk about it from the student’s perspective,” Beck said.
CCU officials were not available for an interview about the Clery Report, but issued the following statement to News13:
“The numbers in the referenced report are not a reflection of high crime rates on the CCU campus, but rather the University’s commitment to reporting and solving crime.
Coastal Carolina University is located in the midst of multiple law enforcement jurisdictions. As a result, CCU’s police force, comprised of sworn and certified officers who have graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, is a primary responder to criminal activity in surrounding areas not on CCU’s campus and often not involving CCU students. Consequently, Coastal Carolina’s reporting of criminal activity includes incidents that would not be reported otherwise. Additionally, a reported incident does not necessarily mean that a crime occurred or that arrests or convictions resulted.
CCU is exceptionally diligent in reporting crime and enforcing the law on CCU’s campus, the campus of Horry-Georgetown Technical College (which is contiguous to CCU), and in housing communities adjacent to campus. This diligence demonstrates the University’s commitment to maintaining the safest possible atmosphere for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
CCU’s dedicated and highly capable law enforcement team is expertly trained and nationally recognized (the National Association of Campus Safety Administrators unanimously selected CCU investigator Charles Kessler as 2018 Officer of the Year), employing state-of-the-art technology including camera systems, license tag readers, and investigation techniques to ensure that all crimes are reported and laws are enforced.
As the metropolitan area in which we are located continues to grow rapidly, CCU will continue striving to implement innovative strategies to safeguard this campus.”
Beck says Help Save the Next Girl may have played a role in helping more survivors come forward.
“I think having an organization on campus that people know about that support survivors can encourage them, even if they’re not a part of it. They know that they have people backing them at all times. No matter what they’ve been through or their experience,” Beck said.
To read the full Clery Report, click here.