University responds to CU-CitizenAccess, The Daily Illini investigation of sex crime reporting

The University of Illinois submitted the following op-ed in response to stories by CU-CitizenAccess and The Daily Illini about sexual assault on campus. CU-CitizenAccess is confident in the reporting on the issue. We will address the points made by the university in its letter in subsequent stories.

The op-ed, from University police chief Jeff Christensen and Title IX Director Danielle Morrison, is published in full:

University officials delay in forwarding sex-related crimes to police

University officials neglected to forward student reports of sex offenses to university police for months, despite the requirement that all sex crimes be reported immediately, according to a CU-CitizenAccess and The Daily Illini analysis and interviews with the police department.

Clery Act numbers lag behind reported sex crimes on campus

Officials have long said that sex offenses are underreported to authorities on campus, just as they are nationwide. But it has not been apparent that University officials are unable to track the number of sex-related crimes reported to them.

Mass emails few, far between reported sex crimes

For three years, the University of Illinois campus police failed to send out mass email alerts on sex-related crimes, despite requirements to do so by the U.S. Department of Education, according to a CU-CitizenAccess and The Daily Illini analysis of police records.

Current housing voucher program leaves applicants waiting

At the Housing Authority of Champaign County, the first thing an applicant for housing must learn is to wait, especially when it comes to the Housing Choice Voucher program. In fact, more than 6,000 people applied last year to the housing authority just to get on the waiting list for the vouchers, which are used to pay rent to private landlords who qualify for the program. Currently, the housing authority has 1,798 vouchers to distribute among Champaign County. Additionally, 22 vouchers are reserved for veterans, according to housing authority documents. All are currently being used.

CU-CitizenAccess.org celebrates Sunshine Week all year, every year

From restaurant inspections and complaints about Housing Authority complexes to every arrest in Champaign-Urbana and tax incentive agreements, CU-CitizenAccess has provided much-needed transparency to a number of issues involving East Central Illinois in the past few years.

Delays at proposed Tuscola fertilizer plant put tax breaks at risk

Cronus Chemicals will start losing part of its nearly $40 million in state tax incentives if its proposed $1.9 billion ammonia fertilizer plant in Tuscola is not operating by July 2, according to tax credit agreements.

A review of company filings with the state of Illinois shows the project must be “in service” within 24 months of July 2, 2015. According to the documents, “in service” means “the state or condition of readiness and availability for specifically assigned functions.”

And if the plant is not complete and operating within five years of July 2, 2015, the company will lose out on all $40 million of its tax incentives from the Illinois Department of Commerce, said department spokeswoman Jacquelyn Reineke.