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University of Maryland Sees Spike in Sexual Violence in 2017 [Report]

The University of Maryland witnessed an upward trend in cases of sexual misconduct reported on its campus during 2017-2018, according to its new annual report.

The figures, which were released by the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, present a grim picture of crimes reported on campus. A total of 249 incidents of sexual misconduct were reported and 91 complaints were filed by students during the last academic year. These numbers represent an increase of 41 reports and 11 complaints from 2016.

Since the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct began operating in 2014, the campus has seen a surge in reported incidents of sexual misconduct. In its inaugural year, 112 incidents were reported. This number jumped to 184 in 2015-2016.

Within the 2017-2018 report, the university documented 46 incidents of sexual assault, 27 cases of sexual harassment, 15 cases of stalking, and 12 cases of relationship violence, among others.

While the total number of reports and complaints continue to rise, the number of formal investigations conducted by the university has declined. In comparison to last year when the university received 80 complaints and investigated 27, this year a formal investigation was only launched in response to 16 complaints out of the total 91.

“I would like to see the numbers be more closely matched,” Ever Hanna, the campus policy manager for End Rape on Campus told The Baltimore Sun. “To see that only 16 were taken seriously enough to have an investigation is really disappointing.”

To better address concerns related to crimes happening on campus, the university has made undergraduate student sexual misconduct training compulsory for all first- year and transfer students.

Last year, 92 percent of students completed the 45-minute training. Graduate students are also given “Responding Effectively to Discrimination & Sexual Misconduct” training every two years.

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