New college safety data revealed a 29% decrease in all crimes reported across Connecticut’s 10 largest four-year undergraduate institutions from 2019 to 2020, including a 42% decrease in sexual offenses. This 29% decline marks the steepest drop in recent years. Between 2018 and 2019, reported crimes among the 10 largest universities decreased by 11% and sexual offenses decreased by 17%. University of Connecticut spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said that the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted the spring semester and moved classes online in March of 2020, can explain that year’s dip in crime. “The coronavirus pandemic significantly decreased the on-campus population at Storrs and the regional campuses for much of the 2020 calendar year, and the number of incidents reported during that period decreased as a result. Previous figures from 2019 and next year’s 2021 figures are expected to be more representative of a typical year,” Reitz wrote in a UConn press release.
As anxiety and depression among college students soars, universities in Connecticut and nationally are expanding their mental health counseling, even offering courses that address mental well-being. A new national report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State found that anxiety and depression were the top concerns of students seeking counseling services, and that self-harm behaviors have risen for the seventh year in a row. In another survey, 57 percent of directors of college counseling services said the severity of student mental health concerns increased between 2015 and 2016. And according to a National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey, 9.1 percent of college students reported being diagnosed in the last year with a psychiatric condition. “We have seen an increase this fall compared to last fall of almost 30 percent in students requesting to be seen by our counseling service,” said Kerry Patton, director of health and wellness at Quinnipiac University. Over the last few years, anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common reason students at Quinnipiac are seeking counseling services.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday placed the registered nursing programs at three colleges on conditional status for one year because too many students have failed the R.N. licensing exam. The programs – at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain and Gateway Community College in New Haven and the University of St. Joseph’s accelerated program in West Hartford – are expected to present correction plans to the board in June. To avoid conditional status, the programs must have a passing rate of at least 80 percent among students taking the licensing exam for the first time after graduation. Central’s most recent passing rate was 74 percent while Gateway and St.