Rapes increase in 2016 at several Texas universities, latest reports show

Prospective students and their parents tour UNT’s campus in Denton. UNT saw an uptick in reported rapes on campus, increasing from 7 in 2015 to 13 last year.
Prospective students and their parents tour UNT’s campus in Denton. UNT saw an uptick in reported rapes on campus, increasing from 7 in 2015 to 13 last year. University of North Texas

Reported on-campus rapes increased in 2016 at several Texas universities, including UNT, UT Arlington and SMU, according to recently released data.

Officials attributed the higher numbers to greater awareness and and more victims willing to come forward.

At UNT, reported rapes rose from seven in 2015 to 13 in 2016. SMU saw an uptick from three to five; the University of Texas at Arlington rose from one to four; Texas A&M saw a rise from 13 to 30; and UT Austin saw an increase from 10 to 16.

Numbers decreased at TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech. TCU dropped from 12 to nine, Baylor 23 to 11 and Tech eight to five.

“We’ve made concerted efforts to educate our community about crime prevention strategies and how to report sexual assaults and other crimes,” UNT Police Chief Ed Reynolds said in a statement. “ Our campus also has worked hard to create a culture where people feel more comfortable reporting crimes, and this does mean that more cases are reported.”

UTA spokeswoman Sana Syed said in an email that the university has emphasized to students the importance of reporting sexual assaults and other dating violence crimes.

“If individuals understand that UTA expects them to report the violence, and will support them when they report it, they are more willing to report violence whether it be against themselves or friends/roommates,” Syed said.

SMU spokesman Kent Best in an email said the university “urges students to immediately report any incident to police, to seek help from confidential counselors, to seek care from sexual assault nurse examiners and to preserve evidence.

“We are thankful that more students are reporting these offenses and seeking help,” Best said.

Jennifer Smith, the Title IX coordinator at Texas A&M, told the Houston Chronicle that the jump in reported rapes there was not a surprise.

“An increase in reports of sexual misconduct is to be expected when institutions step up educational and awareness programs,” Smith told the newspaper. “Increased reporting is an indicator that students are aware of the university’s resources and believe that Texas A&M will investigate fairly and respond appropriately.”

The numbers were collected from crime statistics in each school’s annual security reports, which are required by the federal Clery Act to be released by Oct. 1.

Statewide, reported forcible sex offenses, which includes both rapes and fondling, had increased at Texas universities each year from 2008 (119) to 2015 (347), according to most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education.

In May, UT Austin released a survey that said nearly 15 percent of female undergraduates reported being raped.

Nationwide, about 1 in 4 college women reported unwanted sexual contact in a 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities.

The Texas Legislature passed two bills in May related to reporting sexual assaults on campus.

Senate Bill 968 requires universities to give students and employees the option to report assaults electronically. Senate Bill 969 provides amnesty to students who report assaults and other sexual violence crimes, even if they are violating other laws, such as underage drinking.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

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Reported rapes on campus

University of North Texas

▪ 2015: 7

▪ 2016: 13

Texas Tech

▪ 2015: 8

▪ 2016: 5


▪ 2015: 12

▪ 2016: 9

UT Arlington

▪ 2015: 1

▪ 2016: 4


▪ 2015: 3

▪ 2016: 5


▪ 2015: 23

▪ 2016: 11

Dallas Baptist

▪ 2015: 1

▪ 2016: 0

Texas A&M

▪ 2015: 13

▪ 2016: 30

UT Austin

▪ 2015: 10

▪ 2016: 16

Tarleton State

▪ 2015: 4

▪ 2016: 6

Texas Woman’s University

▪ 2015: 2

▪ 2016: 2

UT Dallas

▪ 2015: 2

▪ 2016: 6

Source: Clery Act reports