On Monday, September 30, all Keene State College students received the 2019 Annual Security Report in their email inbox. The report contains crime statistics over the past three calendar years, ending December 31, 2018, for both KSC’s Keene campus and KSC’s Manchester campus. The security report is in accordance with the requirements of the Jeanne Clery Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act).
According to the Clery Center, the Clery Act is “a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.” The crimes reported include sex offenses, robbery, assault, arson, stalking and drug and aolcohol violations, among other crimes.
For the Keene campus, statistics that are higher than others are those pertaining to drugs and alcohol. Disciplinary referrals for drug-related violations on-campus were 279 in 2016, 285 in 2017 and 161 in 2018. Disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations on-campus were higher, with 573 in 2016, 405 in 2017 and 377 in 2018.
Interim Director for Campus Safety Kevin Williams said this issue is due to the culture of the college, but that does not mean there are not consequences.
“We have a zero tolerance policy for use of illegal narcotics. We do not tolerate, condone or overlook underage drinking. When we encounter that, the local police are contacted,” Williams said. “We confiscate all illegal drugs we encounter. We dispose of all drug-related paraphernalia; they are seized and destroyed.”
Williams also noted that on college campuses, people who have a medical marijuana card are not exempt from this, as it is still not allowed on school grounds.
According to the report, statistics that increased were sex offenses pertaining to rape and fondling. For instances of on-campus rape in Keene there were seven in 2016, nine in 2017 and nine in 2018. For fondling, there were two reported instances in 2016, five in 2017 and six in 2018.
According to U.S. News and World Report, in light of the ‘#MeToo’ movement in 2017 and 2018 the number of sexual assault crimes reported to the police has increased significanly nationwide. Williams believes this may be true for Keene’s campus as well.
“People no longer have a tolerance for this type of mindset. Those types of behaviors are not acceptable, period. I am pleased that our student body has chosen to report out when something’s not right,” Williams said. “When you see something, say something.”
KSC Interim Title IX Coordinator Kelli Jo Harper said that KSC itself is actively working to create a prevention and reporting culture on campus.
“The Title IX Office works really closely with departments across campus in trying to have coordinated prevention efforts. Combating this issue really comes from a place of trying to provide lots of opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage in a conversation about these issues, to have an awareness for people across campus about where you go to report and what the supports are. Even if a student isn’t ready to report, there are confidential resources too,” Harper said.
As for other crimes on Keene’s campus, there were four instances of aggravated assault in 2018, ten instances of burglary in 2018, three instances of dating violence in 2018 and one instance of stalking in 2018, none with any significant increase over three years.
In the past three years there have been zero cases of homicide, arson, statutory rape, domestic violence or motor vehicle theft. There were four instances of weapon possession on Keene’s campus in 2016 and zero instances in 2017 and 2018.
“Is this a dangerous campus? Absolutely not. Are there any serious threats to students, faculty or staff on this campus? Absolutely not,” Williams said. “Our issues, which are clearly delineated in our campus safety report, relate to liquor law and drug violation.”
Campus Safety Sargeant Jessica Trombley, who compiled most of the data and information included in the report, said that she believes people on campus should take the time to read the report, given the amount of significant information it contains.
“If they really were to focus on the reporting crimes and emergencies section that would really help get people in the mindset of the ‘see something, say something’ mentality. That’s something we’ve been pushing for years. And there’s ways for you to do it anonymously,” Trombley said. “The resources we offer, too, are very valuable. We have a good set-up on campus where we have a lot of different departments here to support students. All of the emergency stuff is important, too, that lets students and parents know what’s going to happen if an emergency happens. Campus Safety is really transparent about this.”
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at