University to launch Spring 2015 Climate Survey on sexual misconduct and sexual assault

On April 14, the University of Chicago will launch a campus survey to assess the climate for students with regard to sexual misconduct and sexual assault.

The Spring 2015 Climate Survey, which is both anonymous and confidential, will provide essential information to guide the University’s efforts on sexual misconduct prevention, education and awareness programs. The results also will inform the University’s resources and response programs for survivors.

This survey is the first of two campus climate surveys that the University plans to administer. A second survey will focus on diversity, inclusion and the climate for underrepresented groups.

“The climate surveys are part of an ongoing institutional commitment to understand how these issues affect our community, and to further refine our policies and procedures, armed with that knowledge,” said Provost Eric D. Isaacs.

University faculty members played a major role in developing the Spring 2015 Climate Survey. The faculty committee that helped create the survey is chaired by Ronald Thisted, Professor of Public Health Sciences, Statistics, Anesthesia & Critical Care and the College, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. The committee met regularly since January to shape the development, content and deployment of the survey, incorporating input from students.

“This survey is an important part of our ongoing efforts to understand the issues and develop the appropriate programs and resources to support our community,” said Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services. “We take seriously our responsibility to ensure that our students are able to explore new ideas, live, and learn in a safe and welcoming academic environment.”

On April 14, all current College, graduate and professional school students 18 years old and older will receive a unique individualized link to the survey, administered by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey is open until midnight on Tuesday, April 28.

One of the nation’s leading survey and research organizations, NORC at the University of Chicago will collect and analyze the survey responses on behalf of the University, which will release the first of a series of reports by the end of Spring Quarter 2015. The data collected also will be shared with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, in order to better national understanding of this problem and contribute to the development of best practices and standards.

“The survey results will help us understand what kinds of sexual misconduct have occurred on our campus, how often they occur and in what context, and whether there are specific subgroups of students who are particularly at risk,” said Thisted. “The data from this survey will help us to assess awareness and effectiveness of resources already in place, to identify areas in which greater efforts will be most effective, and to understand where we can improve programs and resources that our students can draw on. The more students who participate in the survey, the more useful the survey will be in helping to reduce the occurrence of sexual misconduct in our community and to deal with it effectively when it does occur.”

Because of the importance of maximizing participation in the survey to obtain a full and accurate picture of the campus climate, the University will send numerous email reminders to students between April 14 and April 28, when the survey will be complete.

In addition to the surveys, the University is proceeding on multiple fronts to address campus climate issues and promote inclusion. The Provost has appointed a committee of faculty, students and staff to reevaluate and make recommendations for further modifying the University’s Unlawful Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy. These modifications would build upon the work of a previous committee that last year combined the University’s policies addressing sexual assault, unlawful discrimination and harassment into one policy. The committee aims to complete its work in the Spring Quarter. The Diversity Advisory Council, chaired by Prof. Adam Green, also has begun their work on issues related to diversity and inclusion and will be sharing more information later in the Spring Quarter.

For more information on the climate survey project, please visit