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Education

UT Campus Stalking Incidents Spurred by Social Media, Report Says

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flickr.com/jasonahowie
UT officials say social media may be to blame for the increase in campus stalking incidents.

The number of reported sexual assaults at UT Austin last year saw a slight increase from the previous year.

In a report, school officials say the crime remains underreported given the size of the student population on campus, but also expressed concern about the increase in stalking incidents on campus.

According to preliminary numbers released this week in UT’s Annual Security Report, 21 sexual assaults were reported on or near campus in 2013.

This year's report also includes reports of dating violence, domestic abuse and stalking incidents. Reporting those numbers is required under the most recent Violence Against Women Act that Congress renewed last year.

Of the four categories, the largest reported incident was stalking, with 36 reports. UT’s Title IX Coordinator Jennifer Hammat says stalking is a new issue because of social media.

“People have gotten very aggressive in their pursuit of others and it’s really easy,” she says. “If you had modest social media settings people know where you go, where you hang out.”

Research shows that stalking, dating violence and domestic violence often leads to sexual assault.

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