College report needs too long, didn’t read section

By Zoë Eitel, Editor-In-Chief

Every year, Columbia releases its Annual Security and Fire Safety Report in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. It includes the past year’s number of on-campus crimes and incidents that put faculty, staff and students’ safety at risk.

The newest report—released Sept. 29 and covering the 2016 calendar year reporting period—was sent in an email to the college community and is accessible through Columbia’s Office of Campus Safety and Security website. Printed copies can be requested from the office. 

However, accessibility doesn’t matter if no one is going to read it.

The report is 57 pages long and loaded with technical terminology and blocks of text. The actual statistics don’t appear until pages 47–51. The report is the definition of indigestible. It is understandable that all that information is included for legal purposes, but it’s safe to say the majority of students aren’t going to wade through all of it to get to the information that is pertinent to them.

The college’s Office of  Institutional Effectiveness does a great job of breaking down its reports and explaining each point with easy-to-understand graphics and charts. IE’s student demographics and enrollment reports are good examples of how complicated numbers can be framed for reader friendliness.

The sections of the report that include procedures for students to report on-campus crimes and policy violations, resources such as self-defense classes, and the Security Office’s phone number are hidden among the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of dating violence and Columbia’s campus building geography. There needs to be a condensed version of this report available that includes basic information applicable to students and directs them to the complete report for the rest of the information.

But since this doesn’t exist yet, here are some of the highlights.

Campus Security Command Center

Emergency: 312-369-1111

Non-emergency: 312-369-3220

Crime Prevention & Safety Awareness programs

Kick @$$: Personal safety presentations covering self-defense, effects of trauma and campus resources.

Active Shooter: Covering Homeland Security’s RUN-HIDE-FIGHT program for faculty, staff and students.

Reporting procedures

Confidential reporting: For a student who is a victim of a crime but doesn’t want to take legal action, counselors in the Office of Counseling Services are not allowed to share what is said in sessions without written consent from the student, with some stipulations.

Filing a report: Campus Safety and Security will assist students in reporting criminal acts to the Chicago Police Department. Sexual misconduct can also be reported through the college’s Title IX Office.

Missing students: Residential students who are missing for 24 hours or more will have a report filed with the authorities. If someone has reason to believe a student is missing, they are directed to contact Campus Security.

Fire safety

Evacuation: Floor plans with evacuation routes exist on all floors.

Resident halls: Hazards or necessary repairs to Columbia buildings should be reported to a Resident Assistant or security guard.

See the Front Page story for crime statistics from the report.