Four rapes were reported at California State University, Bakersfield last year, according to a new security report.

They are the first rape cases the university has reported since 2013, when one rape reported. Last year’s cases all took place in student housing. The report is published annually in compliance with federal rules.

Campus Chief Marty Williamson said he doesn’t believe there’s any particular reason for the increase in reported rapes.

“Crime statistics are going to fluctuate,” he said. “We’re dealing with human beings and we can’t predict human behavior. Each of these were individual, unrelated incidents. I don’t think this means that CSUB is dangerous.”

Williamson said he doesn't remember any details about the cases. However, the Bakersfield Police Department said it has several records of sexual assault claims from last year. There were no arrests and most of the cases didn’t have enough evidence to move forward, according to the department. 

BPD also said it can’t confirm if the cases they have are the four mentioned in the CSUB report.

CSUB student Jane Anyanwu said she was shocked to hear about the reported rapes.

“This is very upsetting. It’s unacceptable,” she said. “I think CSUB is a safe campus overall, so it’s shocking to see things like this.”

Anyanwu is a leading member of the Consent Project, a club on campus where students can speak freely about sexual assault, domestic violence, consent, safe sex and similar issues.

The club, which meets each week, provides links to resources and provides advice to students. Around nine students are currently in the club.

Anyanwu said that while she has never been a victim of sexual assault while at CSUB, she believes it is an issue that needs to be discussed openly.

“I feel like (CSUB) needs to do a better job of making students more aware that these kinds of things are happening on campus,” she said. “We need to bring more awareness of the issues. Covering it up is not going to solve the problem.”

Williamson said the university sends out alerts to students and staff to their phones if there’s a major, immediate threat on campus. Smaller, more common incidents are often part of a crime bulletin that will be emailed within a day or so of when the incident occurred.

Anyanwu believes an email isn’t enough, as many students don’t check their email in a timely manner.

“They need to make these occurrences more publicly known,” she said. “We need to put this out front and center and really talk about what’s happening on our campus.”

Besides just email, Anyanwu said posting crime information on the university’s social media accounts would be a good way to make more people aware of an incident on campus.

The report shows the university had four burglaries last year and one case of domestic violence reported, the first in a few years. The domestic violence incident happened in the dorms as well, according to the report.

The university also saw increases in liquor and drug law referrals. The report shows that there were 12 liquor referrals, a significant jump over five in 2016. All but one of these referrals were from housing.

There were nine drug referrals, a major increase over just one reported in 2016, according to the report. These are the most referrals within the three-year period the report covers. These also took place in the school dorms.

“That’s where students live so that’s why most of the crime is happening there,” Williamson said. “I would expect us to have higher reportable issues in student housing.”

No cases of murder, stalking, robbery or aggravated assault were reported.

The university made strides in a few area. There were no reported fondling cases while in 2016 there were four. CSUB also reported no vehicle thefts or alcohol-related arrests for last year compared to two for each category in 2016.

“CSUB is a very safe campus. We don’t have a lot of major crime,” Williamson said. “As we continue to grow, our challenge is to stay ahead of the curve and try to keep these numbers as close to zero as possible. I wish I could say we’re always going to be at zero, but that’s not realistic.”

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 395-7368 or by email at jluiz@bakersfield.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JLuiz_TBC. 

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