By again turning to our students, we hope to build on the wealth of knowledge gained in the 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct.
There are few issues as deeply troubling to university administrators as sexual assault and misconduct. We are responsible for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and all those who enter our communities of learning.
The Association of American Universities shares that commitment to safety and security with our member institutions. That is why AAU, a collective of 60 leading U.S. research universities, plans to develop and disseminate a second iteration of the 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct in the fall of 2019. The breadth and depth of the 2015 survey – in which more than 150,000 students across 26 AAU universities participated – made it one of the first to examine such a large student sample.
The 2015 survey provided much-needed insight to our students’ experiences. For example, we learned what many of us feared to be true – first-year students are far more vulnerable to sexual misconduct and assault than any others. The risk of experiencing the most heinous acts declined from freshman to senior year. We learned that one in five undergraduate females reported being victims of sexual assault or misconduct and one in ten reported they had been raped.
By again turning to our students, we hope to build on the wealth of knowledge gained in 2015. It is our sincere hope that like its predecessor, the 2019 survey data will inform new and improve existing campus prevention policies and student resources.
Though much work has already been done across AAU institutions to prevent and better address the issue, we must continue to gather data and constantly reevaluate our efforts to gauge whether they are effective for new groups of students. It is only through these efforts that our campuses will be able to craft the programs and resources needed to serve students better and help combat sexual assault and misconduct.