Washington University joins nationwide survey about sexual assault on college campuses​

​Survey is anonymous; starts in April

Washington University in St. Louis will participate this spring in a large and comprehensive survey about sexual assault on college campuses. Conducted by the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Sexual Assault Climate Survey will collect data from 800,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students across the nation.

The survey is completely anonymous and will take most students 20 minutes to complete. All students on the Danforth and Medical campuses will be invited to participate.

Provost Holden Thorp, PhD, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and the Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor,
says the survey will inform ongoing efforts to make Washington University a safe place for all students​. Other initiatives include the hiring of Jessica W. Kennedy, JD, to the newly created role of Title IX coordinator and the launch of the Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Task Force.

“Washington University is pleased to participate in the AAU-sponsored survey on campus climate with regards to sexual misconduct,” Thorp said. “Hearing anonymously from our students about their experiences will not only allow the university to improve its educational efforts and support systems, but provide the real story about what is happening in our community around this difficult issue.”

Developed by a team of experts from AAU universities and Westat, one of the nation’s most respected research companies, the survey will assess campus climate and document the frequency and characteristics of campus sexual assault and sexual harassment. The AAU will publicly report aggregate results; Washington University also will share its campus data.

“Our primary purpose in conducting this survey is to help our institutions gain a better understanding of this complex problem on their own campuses as well as nationally,” said AAU President Hunter Rawlings. “Our first priority, and theirs, is to ensure that students not only are safe but feel safe. Universities will be using their data to inform their own policies and practices regarding sexual assault.

“We also hope the survey will help policymakers gain a better understanding of the problem, and that it will make a significant contribution to the growing body of research on sexual assault.”