Survey shows sexual misconduct more common than Clery Report suggests

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According to this year’s Campus Climate Survey, 82 of those who completed the survey, or 17 percent, reported experiencing sexual misconduct on campus.

Of the more than 600 survey respondents, 121 — including the 82 previously mentioned — reported experiencing sexual misconduct since attending UVU. Sexual misconduct is an umbrella term for a variety of sexual violations that includes catcalling, stalking, inappropriate comments or gestures, sexual assault and rape.

The survey results show that the most common type of violation is verbal misconduct, with women disproportionately experiencing all types of sexual misconduct on and off campus. Of those who reported experiencing some form of misconduct, 1 in 13 women and 1 in 48 men have experienced sexual assault since coming to UVU.

“The Campus Climate Survey is a tool used to collect information about the student’s experience and perceptions related to sexual misconduct, both on and off campus, since becoming a student here,” acting Title IX coordinator Laura Carlson said. “We want students to be successful and to feel safe while attending UVU.”

“The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports indicate that more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault. … The statistics from the UVU Campus Climate Survey are indicative of what is happening nationally,” dean of students Alexis Palmer said.

The survey reflects Palmer’s statement as less than 10 percent of the 121 respondents reported to campus organizations including Student Conduct, OMBUDS and Title IX.

Most of those who reported experiencing some form of sexual misconduct disclosed it to a friend or kept it to themselves. According to the survey, the top reasons for women and men not reporting the misconduct was that they “didn’t think it was serious enough” to report.

According to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the office is responsible for helping curb “sex based discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance.”

This survey is a complement to the Annual Security Report — or Clery Report — that is released each year and details instances of crimes like theft, drug and alcohol use and sexual offenses.

According to Carlson, the climate survey helps expose gaps in Clery and presents a clearer picture of sexual misconduct on college campuses, which helps the administration understand how to better serve victimized students and improve outreach.

Tim Stanley, UVU’s associate director of institutional research, said this is the first year UVU has successfully conducted the survey, but it won’t be the last.

“Essentially, this is the second time we’ve administered this survey. The first time we used a third-party company who we sent a random sample of emails. They sent it out from their company, and very few students responded; not enough to draw any conclusions from,” Stanley said.

The survey was telling in other ways because it showed where the university needs to improve. Carlson said it will steer campus services and resources where they will be the most useful and provide the most help.

“One of our takeaways from the results of the Campus Climate Survey is that we see that we need to get more information out to students about resources on campus,” Carlson said. “We are developing new materials to share that information with students that will roll out in the next few weeks.”

Palmer said that various UVU departments and organizations are working together on outreach and prevention to find more students “who are comfortable reporting sexual assault.”

For the next survey, Carlson said she is hoping for higher participation rates to “gain a clearer picture” about student experiences and be better prepared to help them with “resources, education and preventative measures.”

The next survey will be conducted in spring 2018.