Annual Security report

Hannah Lentz

After months of collaboration and deliberation among more than 50 departments across campus, the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is now available to the public.

One of the larger sections within the document focuses specifically on sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. With an increase of reports of sexual assault on Grand Valley State University’s campuses, explanation and education was an important theme for this year’s report.

This year’s report documented a hike in reported sexual assaults of GVSU students. Compared to seven incidents reported in 2014, there were 15 cases reported in 2015. It should be noted, however, that five of the incidents reported in 2015 actually occurred in 2014, said GVSU police department Captain Brandon DeHaan, who serves at GVSU’s Clery compliance officer.

Though this hike is a matter of concern, it also reflects the work of the university to create an open and safe environment for students to report acts of violence so that campus security can take the acceptable measures to hold individuals responsible, DeHaan said.

“This highlights the work the university has done to encourage individuals to report these offenses,” DeHaan said. “We know that sexual assaults are the most underreported of all criminal activities. In discussion with my colleagues here on campus, we don’t believe there has been an increase in the number of sexual assaults, but rather the environment has changed.”

These cases are not identified as either “opened” or “closed,” but rather reflect all reports of sexual violence to any representative for student safety including officers, responsible employees or representatives from the Women’s Center. This also includes cases that are reported where the victim-survivor does not wish to continue with an investigation.

“We’ve broken the areas on sexual assault down as well because we know there are often questions that are identified with this and we wanted to make it easier for individuals to find information in the annual report,” DeHaan said.

The university has put a heavy focus on the paradigm that surrounds sexual assault through programs like the “It’s On Us” campaign and the creation of several positions on campus that cater to students’ needs following acts of violence, DeHaan said.

“The commitment the university has had to change the preconceived notions surrounding sexual assault is evident,” DeHaan said. “It goes along with education of the community and creating a safe environment for individuals to report.”

This year, DeHaan worked with GVSU’s Title IX office to include new procedures for sexual misconduct in the report. There’s an excerpt of these procedures in the document as well as additional information that is available online on the Victim’s Rights and Options page. The page gives a detailed description of what an advocate is, what an advocate does and how to reach a representative advocate. One of the features of this page that will have the most impact is the frequently asked questions section, DeHaan said.

“We have worked very hard and diligently to create an environment where people feel comfortable reporting incidents of violence and that the university is working hard to help educate and knowing that education and awareness can be helpful in changing the stigma surrounding sexual assault,” DeHaan said.

In order to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act, a comprehensive look at campus security and safety resources, protocols, policies and procedures is required to be released to the Laker community.

This year, the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report has changed format.

“We’ve reformatted how the annual report is put together to make it easier to read document and we’ve changed our table of contents in an attempt to make this an easier document to digest,”DeHaan said.

Liquor law arrests also decreased from 200 in 2014 arrests to 88 in 2015.

The full report can be found at