The University has released from its third annual “We Speak” survey about the prevalence of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct on campus. In an email to the campus community Thursday afternoon, Michele Minter, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity, stated that although most reported statistics in the survey were lower than in the previous two years, “they still show that too many of our students have been victims of sexual misconduct.”
The survey was distributed to all students last spring and was completed by 47 percent of the student body.
1 in 5 of undergraduate women who responded noted that they had experienced inappropriate sexual behavior during the past academic year, including nonconsensual sexual contact, stalking, sexual harassment, or abusive intimate relationships. This figure marked a decrease from those reported in the 2016 survey, which found that 1 in 4 undergraduate women were victims of sexual misconduct, and the 2015 survey, which found that 1 in 3 undergraduate women had been harassed.
Among female graduate students, 1 in 11 respondents said that they had experienced sexual harassment in the past year. According to a University compiled from survey results, 23 percent of those harassed said that the incident of harassment involved an employee or staff member, faculty member, or postdoc.
“There is a growing and important national conversation regarding sexual harassment occurring in situations where there are unbalanced power dynamics, including within academia,” Minter wrote in her email to the campus community.
In addition, 10 percent of all students and 18 percent of undergraduate women who responded noted that they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact, commonly known as sexual assault, and two percent of all students and five percent of undergraduate women who responded noted that they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact, or rape.
The email explicitly stated the percentage of women who had experienced inappropriate sexual behavior, but did not state the percentage of men who had experienced the same behavior. However, the full report of the survey reported that 12 percent of undergraduate men and five percent of graduate men had described experiencing some form of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Similar to that reported in last year's survey, 87 percent of respondents said they would know where to go on campus for help if they or a friend were sexually assaulted.
According to the survey results, undergraduates who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual or questioning are about twice as likely to experience sexual misconduct than undergraduates who identify as heterosexual or straight.
The We Speak survey results are used by the Faculty-Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct as the basis for on improving campus climate around sexual misconduct and gender discrimination. This year’s recommendations include additional training for graduate students, international students, and postdocs, as well as a bystander training workshop for faculty and a workshop for the eating clubs’ Graduate Interclub Council.
The infographic stated that 38 percent of survey respondents who experienced sexual assault first encountered their assailant in an eating club.
“That our findings are similar to those from surveys at other campuses doesn’t make them less troubling,” Minter wrote. “The figures underscore the sustained need to address sexual misconduct.”
This story is part of ongoing coverage.