Alcohol referrals top list as colleges release crime statistics for 2014



Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

AMHERST — Alcohol arrests were up at the University of Massachusetts Amherst while reported rapes were down in 2014. At Mount Holyoke College, burglaries outpaced drug or alcohol referrals. And Hampshire College had its first year without a case of arson in the residence halls in three years.

The area’s five colleges — Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass — recently published their crime statistics for the previous calendar year, complying with a federal mandate to do so every fall.

Each college and university that receives federal funding must complete reports under the Jeanne Clery Act, passed in 1990, to provide information to students and families about crimes on campus and the resources to deal with them.

Colleges are required to post the reports to their websites by Oct. 1 and to include information about resources available for responding to and preventing certain types of incidents on and off campuses.

“The purpose of the annual reports not only is to provide information about specific incidents but also to educate our communities about what resources are available,” wrote Ralph “Buddy” Gould, chief of campus police for Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges, in an email to the Gazette about the reports.

The reports released this fall include crime statistics for calendar year 2014 and compare those numbers to the same statistics reported in 2013 and 2012.

The highest crime numbers for nearly all five campuses in 2014 were referrals — and in the case of UMass, arrests — related to drugs and alcohol.

The exception to that is Mount Holyoke College, which had only one referral for alcohol and two for drugs in 2014, and no arrests.

Mount Holyoke College spokeswoman Julia Ferrante said it is difficult to make direct comparisons among the colleges based on those statistics. Many factors, including the urban or rural location of a campus, the number of students, access to public transit, whether a school is co-educational or single-sex, and even the weather during big events on campus, can affect a school’s numbers of alcohol or drug referrals, she said.

Gould agreed, stating that each campus is different.

“Mount Holyoke and Hampshire are in more rural areas away from South Hadley and Amherst, Smith is surrounded by the city of Northampton and so students move on and off campus more frequently,” he wrote. “The statistics can provide some information about needs for educational programs and various services, but they are just one of many measures we use to assess and enhance our services.”

UMass

At UMass, there were 234 alcohol-related arrests and 676 alcohol-related referrals, in which students are brought before university officials for discipline or treatment rather than the criminal justice system. In the 2013 calendar year, there were 182 arrests and 780 referrals for alcohol. The 2012 numbers were 338 arrests and 609 referrals.

According to the statistics, nearly all of the referrals resulted from an alcohol infraction in a residence hall, while almost none of the arrests originated in the residence halls.

Patrick Archbald, interim police chief at UMass, said the increase in the number of alcohol-related arrests in 2014 is within the normal fluctuation on campus, and attributed it to officers being more proactive getting out and dealing with alcohol violations.

Related to referrals, he said that is a good tool for the university to use to combat alcohol infringements.

“I would like to see the liquor law referrals go up every year if indeed that’s a reflection of the activity going on on campus,” Archbald said.

Campus officials who deal with such referrals play an important part in holding students accountable, he said.

“As much as we can engage the dean’s office, the better that helps this campus,” he said.

Archbald also said that 2014 was the first year that the UMass statistics included a new center at Tower Square in Springfield, which altered some of the crime numbers. He gave the example of robberies, stating there were three robberies at that location, which increased the 2014 number to a total of four. In 2012, there was one robbery reported at UMass. In 2013 there were none.

Amherst College

At Amherst College, alcohol arrests went down to nine in 2014 from 42 in 2013 and 22 in 2012. Alcohol referrals remained relatively consistent, with 74 in 2014, 75 in 2013 and 102 in 2012. All alcohol referrals originated on campus while nearly all arrests took place on public property, according to the statistics.

John Carter, police chief and director of public safety at Amherst College, agreed with Archbald, stating that referrals are the best way to approach alcohol violations.

“When you talk about liquor law violations, you’re talking about a minor in possession or a local keg ordinance,” he said. “We’ve found that our dean of students office is effective in dealing with that.”

Students working with the dean of students are educated around how the use of alcohol can affect lives rather than going through the criminal process and paying a fine.

Gould was of a similar mind-set for the three campuses he oversees.

“Typically, alcohol-related incidents are not criminal in nature and so Campus Police or our respective student services staff would refer those incidents to the student disciplinary process,” Gould wrote. “Changes in the laws governing marijuana also have led to differences in how these situations are handled.”

Referrals

At Hampshire, there were 33 alcohol referrals in 2014, up from three in 2013 and two in 2012. Smith had 36 alcohol-related referrals in 2014 compared to 55 in 2013 and 67 in 2012. None of Gould’s campuses reported any alcohol arrests in any of the three years listed, except for one Mount Holyoke arrest in 2012.

Hampshire led the other campuses in drug-related referrals in 2014 — 64 in total, compared to 42 at UMass, 30 at Amherst, 18 at Smith and two at Mount Holyoke. Such referrals are generally related to marijuana, according to Carter and Gould.

UMass and Amherst both had drug-related arrests — 17 at UMass and seven at Amherst — while the other campuses had none.

None of the five colleges posted any arrests related to murder or manslaughter for any of the three years covered by the Clery reports. The high-profile arrest of Jesse Carrillo, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2013 death of UMass student Eric Sinacori, will not be counted in the UMass statistics because it occurred in Puffton Village outside of the UMass Police Department’s geographic responsibility, according to Archbald.

Carter said those crimes are anomalous on most campuses.

“They are significantly safer than communities that host them, usually,” he said of colleges and universities.

Rapes decline

At the same time, rape and sexual violence is a reality on many college campuses. All five schools reported some instances of rape in 2014.

In some ways, it is good that rapes are getting reported, according to Archbald.

“We know through research that a vast majority of sexual assaults do not get reported,” he said. “They do not get reported to (crisis or help) centers; they don’t get reported to the police. We know there is a lot more work to be done, a lot more education and outreach, so that primarily women, but not exclusively women, feel like they are going to get some assistance from police or other victim assistance groups.”

At the same time, Archbald said he is pleased that the number of reported rapes at UMass went down to 11 in 2014 from 21 in 2013 and 14 in 2012.

The number at Amherst College was nine in 2014, compared with seven in 2013 and 17 in 2012.

That is among the higher numbers in the area, but Carter said it can be misleading to compare institutions based on sexual violence statistics.

“I think if you have a system that is open and supportive to the survivors of sexual assault that you will see a higher statistic,” he said.

At Amherst, students are able to report instances of rape through the student affairs office and the school’s Title IX coordinator, Laurie Frankl. She was hired after former Amherst student Angie Epifano published an essay in the student newspaper about being raped and about what she judged as the school’s poor handling of the situation.

Carter said some other schools only receive reports of rape through the police departments, and he believes their numbers are lower.

Hampshire College reported eight instances of rape in 2014, compared with 20 in 2013 and 13 in 2012. Mount Holyoke listed two instances of rape in 2014, two in 2013 and one in 2012. Smith College had three rapes on campus in 2014, four in 2013 and three in 2012.

Beyond statistics, the Clery reports provide information about measures police and fire departments have put in place to keep students safe and how campus police departments interact with the broader community. Evacuation strategies, programs around sexual violence and accessibility reports about buildings are contained in them, as well.

The full Clery reports for the five colleges can be read at the following links:

Amherst College: https://www.amherst.edu/offices/campus_police/general_safety/stats

Hampshire College: https://www.hampshire.edu/campus-police/clery-campus-security-and-fire-report

Mount Holyoke College: https://www.mtholyoke.edu/campuspolice/clery_report

Smith College: http://www.smith.edu/campuspolice/crime.php

UMass: http://www.umass.edu/umpd/sites/default/files/ASR-14.pdf

Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at deisen@gazettenet.com.


 


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