The following is updated from a summary sent Monday, February 9, to
the Chair, Past-chair and Chair-elect of the Faculty Senate by President
Summary of U.S. Department of Education Report [on Crime Reporting at
the University of Pennsylvania]
- I write to inform you that we have received the report of the U.S.
Department of Education ("DOE") based on its review of the University's
compliance with the federal law that requires annual reporting of crimes
on campus. As you may recall, we have been expecting this report since
October 1997, when DOE staff left campus after spending several months
reviewing records kept by our Division of Public Safety, interviewing campus
officials, and reviewing our crime reporting procedures.
- The findings identify several areas in which DOE believes the University
needs to improve, as I will summarize below. The areas are specific and
limited -- the findings are not in any way an indictment of our crime reporting.
- The DOE review for the calendar years 1994, 1995 and 1996 found absolutely
no evidence that the University was "hiding" or "distorting"
campus crime. Significantly, the findings explicitly acknowledges "no
instances of noncompliance with the Campus Security Report disclosure requirements
as a result of the University's application of the Federal definition of
'campus'." This conclusion directly rebuts the allegation made by
The Philadelphia Inquirer more than a year ago that prompted the
DOE review -- that Penn too narrowly defined its "campus" and,
thereby, avoided reporting a number of crimes that occurred on the city
streets patrolled by University police as a supplement to Philadelphia
Police Department patrols.
- The following are the specific DOE findings and its recommended
- Finding #1: Hate crime statistics are not included in the Campus
- Summary: We are required to report statistics for certain Uniform
Crime Report (UCR) classifications -- murder, forcible rape, aggravated
assault -- that "manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion,
sexual orientation or ethnicity." During the three-year period under
review, there was no incidence of "hate crimes" at Penn in these
classifications, and our annual reports included nothing on hate crimes.
The DOE wants the University to note explicitly the absence [or presence,
should it become applicable] of hate crimes; we will amend our reports
to do so and ensure that they are appropriately distributed.
- Finding #2: Failure to report specific incidents.
- Summary: The University failed to include in its 1994 statistics
an alleged rape that was reported to the Director of Victim Support and
Special Services in November 1994. This unintentional omission came to
our attention some months ago. The DOE recommends that we correct our 1994
crime statistics to reflect the addition of this incident four years ago.
We have corrected our pamphlet, and will ensure that the revised report
-- which will now show a single alleged rape in that calendar year -- is
- In addition, the DOE found that Penn did not report Pennsylvania Liquor
Control Board citations issued for underage drinking to eight Penn students
during Spring Fling in April 1996. The DOE has directed us to amend our
1996 Campus Security Report to reflect these incidents; we will do so and
ensure that the report is appropriately distributed.
- Finding #3: Failure to complete separate statistics for separate
- Summary: The University did not publish separate campus security
statistics for its non-contiguous geographic locations -- specifically,
New Bolton Center, the University Boathouse, Morris Arboretum, Flower and
Cook Observatory and Wharton Sinkler Conference Center. These properties
are located as far as 32 miles from our West Philadelphia campus, and they
experience virtually no serious crime; nevertheless, the DOE wants Penn
to list these locations separately in Penn's annual reports, and we will
do so in the future.
- Finding #4: Failure to include statistics for all campus locations.
- Summary: Penn's annual reports for 1994-1996 did not include statistics
for all campus locations, most specifically, the Hospital of the University
("HUP"). The DOE has directed that we include these statistics
in our annual reporting. We will do so in the future, and we will amend
our past reports to reflect the appropriate statistics and ensure that
they are appropriately distributed.
- Finding #5: Failure to notify all prospective students of the
availability of the Campus Security Report.
- Summary: The DOE does not specify exactly how colleges and universities
should disseminate information to prospective students, but it has indicated
its preference that we improve our notification. Penn does notify prospective
students of the availability of our campus crime statistics in a variety
of ways. Many of our schools made this notification on the World Wide Web;
others combine written notification with the World Wide Web. In 1997, in
addition, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions sent a letter to about
73,000 prospective applicants, indicating that the statistical information
was available on our web site or by calling the Division of Public Safety;
it also sent the pamphlet, "Campus Safety and Security: A Shared Responsibility,"
to 15,160 applicants for undergraduate admission.
- As a matter of principle, we disagree with the premise that using the
World Wide Web is not a reasonable notification method. Thousands of our
students and prospective students use it daily to learn about the University.
The DOE has indicated its preference, however, that notification be included
in printed student recruitment literature, and we will do so in the future
as these publications are reprinted.
- Finding #6: Failure to provide the Campus Security Report to
all current students.
- Summary: The DOE found that the University did not provide a
copy of each annual crime report to all current students. In fact, the
complete text of each report was published in Almanac and remains available
on the web, but the DOE wants Penn to disseminate the information directly
to all current students, faculty and staff. So we will do so.
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