2018 Security and Fire Safety Report released by EU

Category:  News
Friday, October 25th, 2019 at 11:46 AM
2018 Security and Fire Safety Report released by EU by Samantha Mannion
EU's 2018 Fire and Safety document indicated an increase in reported sex offenses. The Spectator spoke to the Title IX coordinator about the rise. | Graphic: EU Fire and Safety Report

The annual Security and Fire Safety Report for 2018 was released on Oct. 1 via student and faculty email.

The report details numerous crimes and incidents (such as fires) over 2018, along with revealing procedures for reporting and handling issues. In one noted section, sex offense numbers were up from 2017.

Rape went from four instances in 2017 to 10 in 2018, stalking went up from two to five, dating violence went from two to four, and fondling went from zero to one.

Andrew Matt, the Title IX coordinator and investigator at Edinboro, addressed this increase.

“One of the reasons for that and probably the biggest reason for that is an increase in reporting (of incidents).”

Matt believes that the incidents were usually occurring in that amount, but in the background.

“We see this nationwide when it comes to incidents of sexual violence and sexual assault, events people are afraid of reporting,” he said, explaining that due to destigmatization around these issues, there is less fear.

Matt identified other reasons for this increase in reporting, including a completed staff transition and community outreach programs put in place by his predecessor Ronald Wilson.

“Ron was really good about trying to get out into the community; he was really good about going in and doing trainings for organizations and working with students. Ron was also good about getting information onto the screens around campus,” said Matt, referring to programs like the online Title IX training.

He explained that because of this work, people still knew what to do if an incident occurred and they did not get lost in the transition between the two. 

Matt, as the coordinator, is in charge of helping the victims of sex crimes on campus through Title IX.

“Title IX covers sexual discrimination on campuses,” he explained. Originally, in 1972, the focus of the law was based in sexual discrimination in athletics, but Matt continued, “The existence of the law in that form evolved in recent years to focus also on sexual discrimination, through sexual misconduct.” This includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.

Matt said that, “All of [those] things are related back to sexual discrimination, and any instance where those might occur, on-campus or off-campus, to a student and might have an effect in the student’s ability to participate in educational activities here on campus.”

The next big topic in the report was fires. Jim Dahle, director of safety and risk management at the university, handles any instances of fires. His department keeps statistics on when fire alarms are set off in each building and puts them into two categories: “fires” and “fire alarms.”

According to Dahle, fires are reported when there are visible flames, and when those happen in the residence halls, they are the ones noted in the report because it is mandated by the Higher Education Act.

A “fire alarm” means the smoke detector was activated. Dahle said that, “Fire alarms can be triggered by something burning, an actual fire, or anything that’s particle related,” such as steam or aerosol sprays.

The number of both “fires” and “fire alarms” has gone down since 2015-2016. After detailing some additional statistics regarding tripped alarms and fires, ones he called the “lowest numbers we’ve had in a long, long time, at least since I’ve been here,” he went on to explain why they were lower.

In the Highlands, they reprogrammed all the suite fire detectors to have a 45-second delay.

According to Dahle, “What that means is if a student say — burns popcorn — [and] sets off the smoke detector in the lounge in their suite, they have 45 seconds to clear that smoke condition before that whole building will go into alarm.”

So, what students can do is open windows, turn on fans, clear the smoke and do any other preventative measures. The police will still show up to the door in that event, but the building will not be evacuated.

However, Dahle also said that if a large amount of smoke activates multiple smoke detectors in a room, it can go into instant alarm. The building would be evacuated in that event.

According to Dahle, another cause of this lowered number is there’s “also a correlation to the amount of students living in the residence halls.” In 2015/2016, Highlands 1-8 and Rose and Earp Hall were all open, and that meant more people were living on campus, leading to a greater chance of fire alarms.

The cause of these fire alarms is also shifting. In 2015, the leading cause of both fires and fire alarms was cooking. Last year, it was systems issues in the lead.

“I think the prevention side of things are working really good,” he said.

System issues can be reduced by maintenance and inspection, but also can be due to “things that may be beyond our control,” like a water pressure change tripping sprinkler systems, explained Dahle.

You can access the 2018 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for more information on campus crime, fires and procedures. It can be found online, by searching “Edinboro University Fire and Safety report.”

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