By Shaun Chornobroff
Statistics show that Rider University had a dramatic increase in rape cases in the 2021 calendar year, according to Public Safety’s new annual security and fire safety report.
The data shows eight reported rapes, with six of them being from residential facilities such as dorming halls and Greek houses, and two other rapes occurring in 2017 and 2020, but not being reported until the last year.
The most recent reports show a combined five reported rapes in 2019 and 2020 before the spike this past year.
Rider’s Director of Public Safety James Waldon offered a potential reason for the rise in cases in an email to The Rider News.
“The increase in reports could be the result of more willing to report,” Waldon explained. “Rider university updated our system for submitting reports of violence; bias, discrimination; and come and student conduct and related matters.”
Anyone who wishes to alert Public Safety of an incident can do so via the “Report and Support” tab on the university website.
After a combined 10 reported fondlings in 2019 and 2020, eight of which occurred on campus, the university listed only one fondling incident in 2021.
The university also had 10 reports of domestic violence in 2019, and saw that number decrease to six in 2020. The number of reported domestic violence cases continued its decline down to two in the past calendar year.
Rider also had two cases of reported stalking in 2021.
Public Safety placed the report’s statistics into two categories: criminal offenses and liquor, drug and weapon violations.
Sex and dating crimes fall under criminal offenses.
Rider did not see any cases of arson, aggravated assault or motor vehicle theft, but did report four cases of aggravated assault.
The university had no alcohol related arrests this past year, but saw a drop in disciplinary actions and judicial referrals, only issuing 16 in 2021 after giving out 33 the year prior and 58 in 2019.
After recording seven drug related arrests in 2020 and 14 in 2019, the university did not have a single drug related arrest in 2021. However, the school did have five drug-related disciplinary actions or judicial referrals, an increase from the three issued in 2020, but still a drop from the 13 issued in 2019.
When asked about the drop in drug and alcohol related incidents, Rider’s Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown said “we’re always happy when numbers are going lower.”
Waldon echoed a similar thought.
“While we have not fully completed an analysis of the data set, the drop is positive. … Any decrease in that number I hope translates into better academic outcomes for our students,” Waldon said.
Although marijuana is legal in the state of New Jersey for those of and over 21, it is still prohibited on Rider’s campus due to it not being federally legal.
Rider did have one weapons-related arrest on campus in 2021.
After recording two building fires in 2019, for the second consecutive year Rider did not have any building fires in 2021.
The report was released on Sept. 28 and shows crime and fire statistics on campus in 2021 with information assembled by Public Safety, Student Affairs, Residence Life, Facilities Management, Community Standards and Local Police.
The Fire Safety and Security Report is released in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act that requires colleges and universities nationwide to release three years’ worth of statistics annually.
This article mentions rape and sexual assault. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).