• Stuart Donlan

How Safe is Olivet College Compared to Other Schools?

Olivet College (OC) is home to a campus safety team comprised of, “dedicated, compassionate and experienced officers available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” as noted by the school campus safety page, but is that enough to make Olivet safer than other colleges?


The annual security report for OC was sent out earlier this year. According to an email from the Office of the Provost, the report is a yearly requirement for the college given by the federal government to “publicly announce the availability of certain safety and security data to our campus community.” This is a part of the Clery Act which according to the Jeanne Clery Center, “aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.”


The report showed that the number of both violent and property crimes at OC were down from the prior two school years. There were only five violent crimes reported on campus in 2020 compared to 10 in 2019, and there were no reported property crimes in 2020 compared to eight in 2019.


But how does OC compare to other colleges in terms of student safety? Fellow member of the MIAA conference, Kalamazoo College, had similar crime numbers to OC according to their annual security report. Kalamazoo has had the same number of property crimes as Olivet at 11 total over the last three years. In that same period, Kalamazoo has had only 20 violent crimes in contrast to Olivet’s 23.


Kalamazoo has approximately 400 more students enrolled than Olivet according to USNews.com, which means that proportionally, OC’s crime rate is slightly higher. Per 1,000 students, Kalamazoo experiences about 4.7 violent crimes yearly compared to OC which has about 6.6 per year.


When put next to a school like Michigan State University (MSU), Olivet’s crime numbers pale in comparison. OC’s 11 reported property crimes over the last three years compared to MSU’s 235, according to the university’s annual security report, shows some of the differences between a large public university and a small private college.


Despite the large difference in totals, OC’s numbers are proportionally higher when factoring in Michigan State’s over 38,000 undergraduate students noted on the enrollment page of the university’s website. Per 1,000 undergraduate students, OC has averaged around 3.6 property crimes per year over the last three years while MSU averaged just over two.


Despite the higher numbers when measured proportionally, many students feel that Olivet is a well-protected area. Junior Trevor Briggs, a member of Campus Safety at OC, said that the college is in many ways, a safe place to be.


“It is a small campus. You pretty much see the same faces day to day; kind of know who everyone is,” said Briggs in a recorded interview. “People usually got your back, and if anyone feels like someone doesn’t have their back, they give campus safety a call. We’re on it. The resident advisors are on it. The hall directors are on it.”


Campus Safety can be reached by phone at 269-749-7911, or crimes can be reported anonymously on the Olivet College website on the Campus Safety page.

Photo from Stuart Donlan