ABC News will report tonight that the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has the highest rate of violent crime on a campus of its size, but university say the network used flawed methodology and old data, reports the Boston Globe. The school has protested to ABC about the planned segment on ”Primetime,” saying, ”This story will have a serious and deleterious effect on our college, its outstanding reputation, its students, faculty, and alumni.” The university asked that the broadcast be delayed until it could meet with network producers.
ABC spokeswoman Alyssa Apple said the program would air tonight. ”We are reporting numbers that we received from the Department of Education,” she said. The segment will report that among schools of more than 11,000 students, UMassAmherst had the most violent crimes per student. Apple said the findings are based on 2002 and 2003 data. UMass officials said 2004 data show that the number has dropped by half. Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University who has studied campus crime, agreed with UMass officials that ABC should have taken into account the number of students who live on campus rather than the total enrollment. Fox said there is a direct correlation between the number of on-campus residents and the number of campus crimes, in part because the more students who live on campus, the greater the opportunity for crime to occur on campus.