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Here’s how to find out how safe each of Utah’s colleges are

The statistics show an increase in sexual assaults and stalking.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Alex, a University of Utah student who went with Lauren McCluskey when she first went to the police station to report her concerns, is pictured in this file photo. In the years following McCluskey's murder, she has pushed for reform with how campus officers handled the case, as well as other sexual assaults and violent crimes. In 2019, most universities in the state reported increases for those.

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Every year, colleges are required to report the crimes that occur on or near their campuses.

Here are some of the takeaways for Utah’s eight public and two private colleges and universities, and where you can find your school’s newly released report for 2019.

1. New data shows a spike in cases of stalking among students across the state.

Reports of stalking jumped from 84 statewide in 2018 to 145 in 2019 — the single largest annual increase.

Advocates are encouraged, believing the numbers represent more victims coming forward — possibly spurred in part by the attention drawn by University of Utah student-athlete Lauren McCluskey’s case. But the jump, they said, also likely means more crime is occurring.

You can find an analysis of the trend in this story.

2. The number of rapes reported on Utah campuses increased slightly.

That has happened almost every year in recent history, with 129 total cases for 2019 compared to 116 in 2018.

The U. and Utah Valley University saw the largest increases. The U. returned to its typical average, moving from 12 to 20 cases. UVU jumped from three to 10, the highest it has ever reported.

To help students and rebuild trust in the community after McCluskey’s case, the U.’s police department has hired a victim advocate who works with individuals reporting cases of stalking and interpersonal violence, Annalisa Purser, director of administration for university safety at the U., wrote in an email.

“We hope that the numbers reflect the increased support and resources available to victims, as well as increased awareness of services,” she said.

UVU spokesperson Scott Trotter said the school is unique in that it’s the largest in the state — with roughly 41,000 students — but has no on-campus housing. Administrators have recently made a concerted effort to to track sexual assaults that happen in privately owned apartments nearby, Trotter noted, and to make sure the numbers are included in the campus crime reports, especially if the complexes are adjacent to campus.

The school also has coordinated with Orem police to have officers ask victims if they are students and, if so, to refer them to campus resources.

3. Utah State University had the biggest increase in reports of fondling.

The school’s cases jumped from 16 to 28 for the year. Amanda DeRito, a spokesperson for USU, said a handful of those came from the university’s annual Halloween party on campus, known as the Howl. There were at least four sexual assaults reported in connection to the 2019 event, including two gropings.

The school has continued work with its ongoing “don’t touch” campaign in response, as well as hired a leader focusing on sexual violence crimes on campus. USU has also created a website with information and resources at sexualrespect.usu.edu.

It was first prompted to review its handling of assault complaints in 2016 in the wake of multiple rape allegations against former USU football player Torrey Green, who was later convicted.

4. Overall, domestic violence reports at Utah’s colleges dipped slightly.

The total cases of domestic violence went down, from 46 total in 2018 to 36 in 2019.

Meanwhile, dating violence reports rose a bit, from 11 to 18. Brigham Young University in Provo accounted for most of that jump, moving from one case in 2018 to seven in 2019.

“BYU takes seriously any report of dating violence,” said spokesperson Carri Jenkins in an email.

The school, too, has been focused on revising how it responds to cases of sexual violence after The Salt Lake Tribune reported beginning in 2016 that students were being investigated for violating the Honor Code at the private religious school after reporting they had been raped.

Domestic violence cases rose the most at Weber State, from two reports to six in 2019. The school is running campaigns to tell students what to watch for in a relationship. Dane LeBlanc, the director of public safety, said officers have completed the lethality assessment training that instructs them on warning signs.

5. There was one murder.

UVU was the only school in the state to report a murder in 2019. A former student shot and killed a man at a nearby apartment complex. A 19-year-old has since been charged in the case.

Here are the links to each school’s full report:

Brigham Young University

Dixie State University

Salt Lake Community College

Snow College

Southern Utah University

University of Utah

Utah State University

Utah Valley University

Weber State University

Westminster College

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