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University Judiciary Committee presents internal demographics data, discusses consent and respect

Results find that the UJC members underrepresent Hispanic students, overrepresent female and upper-income students

<p>The University Judiciary Committee's internal survey revealed that the general body is 9 percentage points more white than University students as a whole, 3 percentage points more female.</p>

The University Judiciary Committee's internal survey revealed that the general body is 9 percentage points more white than University students as a whole, 3 percentage points more female.

The University Judiciary Committee met Sunday evening for its final general body meeting of the semester. The group shared the results of its demographic survey and hosted a group discussion on respect and consent in sexual situations. 

After members of the executive committee made comments, Neeka Samimi, UJC investigator and third-year College student, gave a presentation on consent and sexual violence. Samimi is a member of the organization Culture of Respect Educators, which "builds the capacity of educational institutions to end sexual violence through ongoing, expansive organizational change."

Though sexual assualt is not technically under the jurisdiction of UJC and is instead handled by the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights under Title IX, Samimi’s presentation was meant to serve as a broader exploration of what accountability looks like.

The discussion addressed barriers to seeking accountability, how social pressure and institutions might stall accountability, the role of alcohol and drugs in sexual violence, the defintion of coercion, bystander intervention, survivor support and the importance voluntary, affirmative consent. Samimi also discussed how to support friends or loved ones who have experience with sexual violence. 

"The biggest thing that a friend can do is to help give control back to that person because when a person is harmed, their control has been taken away from them," Samimi said. “You can help be part of giving that control back to them."

Slade Sinak, senior data manager for UJC and fourth-year College student, then presented the findings from the group’s 2021 demographic survey. The survey was tallied Oct. 3 and solicited 102 responses from representatives, counselors, educators and investigators. This new survey data was also made public on the UJC website.

72.5 percent of the survey’s 102 respondents were undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Due to the inclusion of graduate students, UJC as a whole has a slightly older average age of 20.6 years than the University average age for full-time students, which is 19.7 years.

Within UJC, 59 percent of individuals identified as female in comparison to 56 percent of the University student population. 75 percent of UJC members identified as partially white, but only 64 percent identified only as white. In comparison, 56 percent of University students are white, making UJC 10 percentage points more white than the University as a whole and 3 percentage points more female.

3 percent of respondents identified in some way as Hispanic, but no students identified solely as Hispanic. 7 percent of the University overall identifies as Hispanic, according to University data

According to the survey, the racial demographics of the UJC have remained fairly stagnant over the last four years. Though there have been marginal fluctuations in the number of minority students, the percentage of white students in UJC has remained at 64 percent since 2017. 

Accused students this year were 62 percent male and 72 percent white. 40 percent of UJC members identify as male, in comparison to 44 percent of University students, and 64 percent of UJC members identify as white, in comparison to 56 percent of the University population. This makes accused students 6 percentage points more white than UJC members and a marked 22 percent more male than UJC members.

Students at the University have a median family income of $155,500 and 67 percent of students come from the top income quintile, according to New York Times data. 80 percent of respondents to the UJC survey said they come from families that bring in more than $010,000 each year.

59 percent of UJC members are considering or currently enrolled in law school and only 18 percent of members are involved in Greek life. The University community overall is significantly more populated with students involved in Greek life, with over 35 percent of University students involved in Greek life.

More than half of UJC members — 55 percent — live On Grounds. This is in comparison to 26 percent of the University student population overall, making UJC members twice as likely as non-UJC members to live on-Grounds regardless of year. Sinak said this may be a helpful asset in dealing with cases.

"One way we might interpret this is that UJC members are on Grounds more frequently than the average U.Va. students," Sinak said. "And so — to some extent — maybe we're more connected, we're more able to understand situations that might arise, especially since so many of our cases have to do with on-Grounds residents, or those incidents that might occur on Grounds.”

The survey was conducted with the service Qualtrics and had an 89 percent response rate — up from a 77 percent response rate on the last major demographic survey by the UJC, which was conducted in 2018.

Sinak said this demographic information allows the organization to improve itself moving forward.

"This will greatly affect recruitment cycles in the future," Sinak said. "Future leaders of the UJC are able to think about how we compare to ourselves from the past, how we compare to University, and how that might allow us to recruit more actively and invest in the areas that will make the biggest difference to us in future years."