UChicago to participate in AAU campus climate survey on sexual assault, misconduct

Spring 2019 survey of 33 universities nationwide expected to be among the largest of its kind

The Association of American Universities on Oct. 4 announced that 33 universities, including the University of Chicago, will participate in a national campus climate survey on sexual assault and misconduct. The survey will be launched in spring 2019.

The 2019 study follows UChicago’s 2015 survey on issues of sexual misconduct, which gathered findings from 4,116 UChicago students who responded. The 33 universities participating in the 2019 survey total over 870,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, so it is expected to be among the largest of its kind. AAU and the participating 33 universities have contracted with Westat, a leading social science research firm, to conduct the survey and analyze survey results.

“We are committed to building and maintaining a campus environment that is safe and welcoming for everyone, and provides a setting where students can thrive personally and academically,” said Provost Daniel Diermeier. “This survey is vital to informing those efforts and continuing to take steps to support our students.”

A team of university experts and Westat is developing the survey, based on the 2015 AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. The survey will capture characteristics and frequency of campus sexual assault and misconduct and assess campus climate in a manner that further protects student confidentiality and allows for data sharing across universities.

AAU will publicly release aggregate results from across the participating AAU universities. The University of Chicago will release its own results once they are analyzed in late 2019. A faculty advisory group has been convened to help guide the University’s participation.

The AAU’s survey design team includes co-chairs Lily Guillot Svensen, associate director of institutional research at Yale University and Christina Morell, associate provost and director of Office of Institutional Assessment and Studies at the University of Virginia, as well as other researchers, practitioners and administrators with expertise in survey research, sexual assault, gender issues, student affairs, Title IX and related topics.

David Cantor, vice president and associate director at Westat, a nationally recognized expert in survey methodology leads the team with support from Bonnie Fisher, an expert in sexual assault at the University of Cincinnati.

“Our primary goal is student safety,” said AAU President Mary Sue Coleman. “AAU universities are committed to protecting students, and we believe this survey will contribute to the growing body of research on this topic to better inform campus policies and procedures.”

Questions from the University campus community about the survey may be directed to Shea Wolfe, director of the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support and deputy Title IX coordinator for students. Additional information on the survey is available at the AAU website.