Opinion: Clarion Call

Call. 29: Campus Crime Problem Unlikely to Go Away / Affirmative Results Found in Absence of Race Preferences

Despite increased security, crime will likely continue to be a problem for area college campuses.
The most recent instances of campus crime were at UNC-Chapel Hill, where attempted sexual assaults by a knife-wielding attacker last Tuesday night and early Sunday morning prompted calls by university officials to step up campus security and student awareness of campus crime. The assaults follow a series of crimes on Triangle campuses in the past few years. In Nov. 1998, Neil Davis, an N.C. State University student was shot and killed in his off campus apartment by a group of student athletes. In January 1999, another N.C. State Student was shot by a robber on Hillsborough St.
But crime rates on colleges campuses have not dropped significantly in the past few years, and colleges and universities often underreport the number of crimes on campus, as an April 1999 investigative report by Clarion, the magazine of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, found. Despite a federal law (the Higher Education Act) requiring all institutions of higher education that receive federal education funds to report campus crimes and provide this information to students and staff, Clarion could not find 1998 crime statistics for public universities in North Carolina, even after calling each individual university for those statistics. UNC-CH’s Public Safety web site lists crimes that occurred on campus by day and month, but does not compile crimes by calendar year.
And additional rules to the Higher Education Act that were passed two weeks ago by the U.S. Education Department will make campus crime numbers less reliable. Under the new rules, counselors would not have to inform campus-security officials about crimes they learn about in confidential sessions with students.
For more on campus crime, see the April 1999 issue of Clarion (www.popecenter.org.)

Affirmative Results Found in Absence of Race Preferences

Minority freshmen enrollment at the University of Texas at Austin is near pre-Hopwood levels, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education Daily News online. Racial preferences were discontinued in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas following the 1996 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the Hopwood case.
This year’s freshman class at Austin is 3.9 percent black and 13.5 percent Hispanic. The last freshman class before the Hopwood ruling was 4.1 percent black and 14.7 percent Hispanic. The class enrolled immediately following the ruling was 2.7 percent black and 12.6 percent Hispanic.
A similar rebound is occurring at the University of California, Berkeley. In the first year without racial preferences, 1998, the freshmen minority enrollment at Berkeley fell by 61 percent. This year at Berkeley there is a 44.5 percent increase in black freshmen and a 23.5 percent increase in Hispanic freshmen at Berkeley.
Focusing on the elite institutions alone, however, misses the story. This year at U.C.-Riverside black freshmen increased by 54.3 percent and Hispanic freshmen increased by 35.6 percent. The pattern continued similarly in Washington, where voters recently passed Initiative 200, which outlaws racial preferences there. The elite institution, the University of Washington, saw a drop in minority freshmen enrollment. Eastern Washington University saw a 36 percent increase in the number of minority applicants, and Western Washington University saw a 14.5 percent increase.