Utah State University has released the results of its second sexual misconduct student survey, and the university is already using them to guide prevention efforts.
“The most recent survey results provided us with a lot of positive feedback that the education we have done over the last few years is working,” said Emmalee Fishburn, USU’s prevention specialist in the Office of Equity.
The university first surveyed students in spring 2017. Responses on the 2019 survey about feelings of safety on campus were similar to 2017 responses, but the responses to questions about how USU would handle sexual misconduct reports showed more awareness of campus resources and improved faith in the university’s handling of sexual misconduct reports:
- A 16% increase in the number of students who knew how to report sexual misconduct to the university.
- A significant increase in the number of students who were aware of USU confidential resources for sexual misconduct (SAAVI: 10%; CAPS: 13%).
- A 9% increase in the number of students who agreed USU officials handle concerning incidents in a fair and responsible manner.
- A 7% increase in the number of students who agreed the university would support the person making a report of sexual misconduct and take steps to protect the safety of the person making the report.
While the 2019 survey addressed all of the sexual misconduct issues contained in the first survey, new questions were added about sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination and harassment. The questions about nonconsensual sexual contact were also broken further into two types: sexual touching and penetration.
Student responses to the new questions reveal more nuances in how students experience sexual misconduct and provide better information for prevention efforts. For example, while 10% of survey participants said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact, 7% said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual touching, and 4% said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual penetration.
The responses of students who had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact also showed an increase in those disclosing their experiences to the Title IX Coordinator, though the survey did not ask if it was for a formal complaint and investigation or to access supportive measures. In the 2017 survey, 5% disclosed nonconsensual sexual contact to the Title IX Coordinator. In the 2019 survey, 9% said they disclosed nonconsensual sexual touching and 11% said they disclosed nonconsensual sexual penetration to the Title IX Coordinator.
The survey results reveal improved attitudes about bystander intervention with a 15% increase in the number of students who thought it likely their peers would support others who confronted harmful or problematic behavior.
The survey had an overall 26% response rate for all USU statewide campuses, and the response rate for the Logan campus was 33%. Fishburn expressed her appreciation to students for filling out the survey, adding that the data that was collected is essential to ensuring the university addresses the specific sexual misconduct issues faced by students.
To access the full survey report, visit https://www.usu.edu/sexual-assault/survey.
Since the 2017 survey, USU has invested significant resources into the prevention of and response to sexual misconduct.
- USU implemented a “hard mandate” in fall 2017 for all new students to complete an online sexual assault prevention course before the end of their first semester.
- A total of 6,862 individuals have been trained in the Upstanding Bystander Intervention program since the university launched it in fall 2017.
- Title IX oversight overhauled with four new staff positions added in the last year alone.
- $100,000-plus invested in adding more than 50 new video cameras in campus locations deemed potentially vulnerable.
- USU created a Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Committee to gain more input from both within the university and from outside experts.
- Fraternity and Sorority Life system overhauled to improve student safety and accountability.
- SAAVI office (advocacy/counseling) moved under the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology and two new positions added.
- Numerous social marketing campaigns launched to educate the community about consent, bystander intervention, safe dating and responding to victim disclosures.
For more information about confidential resources and reporting options for those who have experienced sexual misconduct, visit sexualassault.usu.edu.