The most important safety issue facing universities today is how to better prevent and effectively respond to sexual assaults on college campuses. Regrettably, sexual assault and sexual misconduct are a widespread societal problem; effectively addressing the problem requires a sustained effort on numerous fronts.
As an association of research universities, AAU decided that the best way to help its members address this issue was to develop and implement a scientific survey in 2015 to better understand the attitudes and experiences of their students with respect to sexual assault and sexual misconduct. The results are helping university administrators facilitate conversations on campus about this important topic and formulate evidence-based policies and practices intended to reduce sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus. AAU also hopes the survey data provide federal policymakers with additional information as they consider legislative and administrative responses to this issue.
In 2017, AAU disseminated a survey to all AAU institutions to get a better understanding as to what policy actions institutions have taken in the last three academic years, to combat sexual assault and misconduct. The findings have been published in a report, with aggregated information, and should provide information to the higher education community with the goal of sharing best practices and informing future policy revisions.
Members of AAU have and will continue to strive to combat sexual assault and misconduct on their campuses.
AAU Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (2015)
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AAU sent a letter on June 20, 2019 to Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, showing their appreciation for their leadership on the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019 (H.R. 36).
An earlier section of this report mentioned that surveys, while important, are only one part of a campus “ecosystem” centered on addressing sexual assault and misconduct.