Southern on low end of campus crime


Illustration by Emma Gustavsson

Southern on low end of campus crime


Rumors of rape. Guns on campus. Drugs in the residence halls.

A couple of high profile crimes have been reported on the Missouri Southern campus this semester, prompting some to wonder about student safety but officials say the campus is safe, and students seem to echo that sentiment.

In October, three students were arrested for drug possession in residence halls. The students, Broderick Hayes, Jacob Kennedy, and Marcus Walker, were taken into custody, and each has been entangled in court proceedings ever since. Kennedy, in fact, has a court date set for Dec. 21.

On top of this incident, a female student reported what was deemed a “forcible rape” in November. No arrest was made, and no charges were filed. Dean Dankelson, Jasper County prosecuting attorney, said he couldn’t release many specific details on the investigation.

“In any criminal case, we have the burden of proving it beyond a shadow of a doubt, and there just wasn’t enough evidence to do that.”

Mike Sullivan, senior mass communication major, said that he’s never once felt unsafe on the campus of Missouri Southern.

“I have, however, as of late noticed the increased ‘criminal activities’ as reported by The Chart,” he said.

More students echoed Sullivan’s feelings, saying the campus is a safe one despite the crime coverage in The Chart.

“I think everything seems to be safe on campus, and the campus security seems to be doing a good job,” Ryan Ferrier, junior computer information science major, said. “It would be nice if some of the campus security officers would be a little more cordial to the students, though.”

Another student, sophomore biochemiestry major Molly Shumaker, agreed as well.

“It’s nice to know that there are people who will uphold the rules that are put in there for our safety,” she said. 

Department of Public Safety Director Ken Kennedy said that while students should always be aware, crime rates at the University are not on the rise and everyone should feel safe.

“I encourage people to get on our website, and through it they can link to other university crime reports,” he said. “When they compare our crime to other universities in the state or across the country, they’ll find out that our crime is really low.”

The Chart pulled Clery Act reports for Missouri Southern, Pittsburg State University and Missouri State University and cross-compared them.

The Clery Act is a statute that requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to record and report information about crime on and around their campuses.

When comparing sexual assaults specifically, Pittsburg State reported six sexual assaults, Missouri State, five, and Missouri Southern, zero reported for academic year 2010.

Kennedy said with rapes in particular, this can be a problem in reporting overall statistics.

“On average since I’ve been here, we’ve probably had two [sexual assaults] a year,” he said. “But the thing about sexual assaults and/or rapes, is that probably 95 percent of them are not reported to police. Very seldom are they reported to police.”

Kennedy went on to say that these crimes are often reported to other sources, like counselors or teachers, and can only be prevented if students report them to DPS in a timely manner. Regardless, Kennedy said the handful of crimes reported this semester should be no cause for alarm.

“We are in a low-crime area of a low-crime city,” he said. “We hardly ever have serious crime.”