2019 ‘Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct’ distributed to U.Va. student body

President Ryan invites students to participate in the University’s third-ever campus climate survey

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The Title IX office has added trauma counselors in both the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and hired a program prevention coordinator to implement training efforts.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

University President Jim Ryan distributed a survey on the climate of sexual assault to the U.Va. student body in an email last Tuesday, as part of the University’s ongoing efforts to evaluate and adjust policies and support services. 

The University is one of 33 members of the Association of American Universities to participate in the 2019 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, which was designed and conducted by Westat, a research firm in Maryland. 

This is the third student survey on sexual assault and misconduct that the University has dispersed across their student body. The University was one of 27 schools to participate in a similar AAU consortium project in 2015. In 2017, the University created an individual contract to administer the survey for the second time. The results of these previous surveys are located on the University’s Institutional Assessment and Studies webpage. 

Christina Morell, assoc. provost for institutional assessment and studies, discussed the University’s initial involvement with the AAU consortium project in 2015.

“It was kind of an extension of work underway to evaluate our practices and approach to this topic at the University,” said Morell. “Our engagement in the 2015 survey started in the summer of 2015 at the request and prompting of the AAU, who as an organization was interested in facilitating a national partnership on this.”

The results of the 2015 and 2017 survey differed. In the 2017 campus climate survey, 25.1 percent of respondents said that sexual assault and misconduct were “very” or “extremely” problematic at U.Va., as opposed to 38.8 percent of respondents from 2015. 

The 2017 survey also found that 44.8 percent of students said it was very or extremely likely officials would take action against an offender, up from the 32.3 percent reported in the 2015 survey. 

In an email statement to The Cavalier Daily, Emily Babb, the asst. vice president for Title IX Compliance, discussed initiatives and changes made in response to data gathered in the 2015 and 2017 surveys. 

“Following the 2017 survey, the Title IX office increased its outreach and training efforts to University students, with a particular focus on Graduate students,” Babb wrote. She also added the specific ways the University has continued to expand resources for the Title IX office, which is a part of the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights.

The University has “added trauma counselors in both the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and hired a program Prevention Coordinator to implement training efforts to University students, with a particular focus on Graduate students,” Babb wrote. 

Whereas the 2015 survey had approximately 5,500 respondents and the 2017 survey was distributed randomly to 5,000 students across Grounds, the current climate survey is being administered to approximately all 22,000 U.Va. degree-seeking students.

The University’s current survey is being administered between March 19 and April 16. Student participation is anonymous and voluntary, and all students who visit the website and participate in the survey will be entered in a lottery to win one of 200 $25 Amazon gift cards. 

In his email to the student body, President Ryan stated that the results of the current survey will help the University, “evaluate policies, make adjustments, and figure out what support services are working and what’s not.” 

“The climate survey assists the University in assessing incidence and prevalence of different forms of sexual misconduct, collects information about the views and perceptions of sexual misconduct,” Babb wrote. In addition, the survey will assess “student knowledge about available resources, reporting options, and procedures for responding to reports.” 

Babb, as well as other University administrators, said she strongly encourages students to participate in the 2019 climate survey.

Correction: A previous version of this article included a quote from Emily Babb stating the Title IX office has added new resources. The article has been updated to reflect the University added the new resources.

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