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.
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This report has discussed the activities of AAU member institutions focused on preventing and responding to campus sexual assault and misconduct.
The following case studies offer examples of campus activity now underway to better inform universities about sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus, and to affect change:
The universities that responded to the Campus Activities Survey differ in key characteristics. Some are public, others private, and others are Canadian institutions. They vary in the size of the student body, ratio of undergraduates to graduate students, and number of faculty and staff.