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Front St.Clovis Schools Section - Clovis Free PressBack St.
Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press

September 25, 2000
Bee To Retract School Crime Story?
"Statistical reporting not true, irresponsible..."
By Howard Hobbs, Ph.D., President, Valley Press Media Network

    CLOVIS -- Due to the documentation of widespread inaccuracies in The Sacramento Bee's reporting of campus crime, particularly sexual assaults, the University of California, Davis, has taken the unprecedented step of formally asking editors of The Bee to retract their story regarding UC Davis.

    In the wake of the Bee story, the office of UC President Richard Atkinson has ordered the formation of an" internal task force" to determine whether it is underreporting the number of rapes and sexual assaults on campus as reported by The Bee. Atkinson's response Monday to The Bee's report came on the same day a national watchdog group called for a federal investigation into the campuses' reporting practices and said it was considering stripping UC Davis of a prestigious safe-campus award.

     "We are concerned that The Bee stories may in fact chill the willingness of students to seek the services that provide advocacy and support in a confidential manner. The article ignores 23 years of UC Davis commitment to prevention programs and support services," says Carol Wall, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Janet Hamilton, vice chancellor for administration.

    Wall told reporters on Monday, "The Davis campus is publicizing this retraction request because numerous media outlets have replicated The Bee's erroneous reports."

    "Taking alleged 'shortcomings' in statistical reporting and turning them into a deliberate effort to keep crime 'in the shadows' is a substantial leap indeed. This representation is not true, and irresponsible to publish," the letter states.

    In addition, UC Davis noted that it is inviting the U.S. Department of Education to make a site visit to the campus to review campus crime reporting practices. This invitation is "a reflection of the campus's good-faith efforts to comply with the law, and in demonstration of the fact that we have nothing to hide from students, employees and the community," the vice chancellors wrote.
[Editor's Note: A complete copy of the U.C. Davis demand for a retraction from The Bee is available upon request by contacting Lisa Lapin, (530) 752-9842, alapin@ucdavis.edu.]

Letter to the Editor

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