Feds slam public university with $82,500 fine for improper crime reports

Campus Reform Reporter

The Department of Education (DOE) has slapped the University of Texas at Arlington with an $82,500 fine for allegedly misreporting crime statistics for 2008.

According the DOE, the school misclassified and underreported certain crimes that were committed on its campus that constituted a violation of the Clery Act, a law that requires universities to collect crime data for their campuses and distribute it all students and faculty.

In once instance, UTA reported a sexual assault in its 2008 report as an “assault,” according to the DOE.

Another alleged misclassification incident involved a student holding his roommate’s head over a stove burner and threatening to turn it on. The incident was apparently listed as an assault of a family member instead of an aggravated assault.

In addition, the university under-reported several alcohol and drug violations in its crime statistics for the year, according to the DOE.

The DOE considered UTA’s violations to be “serious,” according to a letter issued to the school by the federal agency.

“These failures have endangered UTA’s students and employees who must be able to rely on the disclosures of campus crime statistics, policies and statements, and the accurate reporting of crime and statistics in order to take precautions for their safety,” the letter said.

UTA is appealing the ruling and is claiming that the school had corrected the situation to meet the DOE’s standards.

“The issue is classifying these incident and offense reports was rectified in January 2012, and the university implemented, a long time ago, new software that helps the police department staff properly classify crimes and incidents,” Kristin Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the university told Campus Reform last week.

The DOE has granted the school an appeals hearing, but a date for the hearing has yet to be scheduled.

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H/T: The Star Telegram