Claremont Insider: We're Number One!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

We're Number One!

One of our colleagues at Pomona College writes to tell us that the school has an outside chance of being named number one in an article that will appear on the website later this week.

Forbes is ranking colleges according to the amount of crime reported on their campuses. Pomona College may be listed in the top five and could be number one in per-capita crime incidents. The data, according to an email from Pomona College President David Oxtoby, is drawn from 2005 U.S. Dept. of Education crime statistics.

Oxtoby says that the stats for Pomona are misleading. He points out that 2005 showed a spike in crime at the school from 41 reported theft incidents in 2004 to 71 in 2005 and then 33 in 2006.

Oxtoby's email attibuted the spike to two causes: 1) some juveniles who were responsible for unspecified crimes (theft from dorms?); and, 2) the 11 instances of "unauthorized use of a golf cart" that were included among the 13 reported vehicle thefts. (Hey, when you're running late for an early tee time, who thinks to ask the college president for permission to use the cart?)

Statistics don't lie, or do they? Maybe Steve Forbes has it out for liberal arts colleges or just Liberals.

In defending the college's honor, Oxtoby said, "reported crimes against people on our campus were virtually non-existent that year." Maybe fictional crime accounted for the surge in 2005. Remember CMC Professor Kerri Dunn's imaginary hate-crime incident one year earlier?

Oxtoby also suggested that the student body's complacency might have led to the rise in theft incidents: "Paradoxically, our vulnerability to theft may be exacerbated by the fact that our students feel so safe on this campus that they sometimes neglect to lock their doors."

Why fight it? President Oxtoby should embrace the honor. America loves a winner, not a whiner. We're number one!