COLUMBUS, Ohio — The number of reported on-campus rapes at Ohio State University more than doubled in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to an annual report published last week.
The university attributed the increase to more students now living on campus and better awareness and reporting of sexual assaults, The Columbus Dispatch reported .
Thirty percent more students are living on campus as a result of new resident halls, according to Kellie Brennan, university compliance office director. The increase was also likely due to the work being done to boost reporting, she said.
Sixty-one rapes were reported in 2016 compared with 25 in 2015 and 20 in the previous year, according to the most recent federally mandated review.
Abigail Boyer, who serves as an associate executive director at the campus safety nonprofit Clery Center, agrees with university officials about the increase in reported assaults.
“We have seen that when institutions are building better reporting structures and when they have education readily available … that can lead to an increase in reports,” Boyer said.
The university’s campus climate survey found one in five female undergrads have experienced nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of physical force or incapacitation.
Ohio State University Police Chief Craig Stone expects reporting will eventually lead to increased legal action.
“I hope we can get to a next step where we have more victims cooperating with us so we can investigate crimes and bring people to justice,” Stone said.
This story has been revised to correct the attribution of a quote. Abigail Boyer, not Kellie Brennan, said: “We have seen that when institutions are building better reporting structures and when they have education readily available … that can lead to an increase in reports.”