WMU one of 50 U.S. universities set to launch survey on sexual assault

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of a WMU sign.

The survey opens March 21.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University will join campuses around the nation to undertake a detailed assessment of the climate around sexual violence, inviting students to weigh in on their views and experiences in a March 21-April 8 online survey.

The WMU Title IX Sexual Misconduct and Safety Survey will allow WMU officials to pinpoint areas of concern that students have, according to Felicia Crawford, WMU's new director of Title IX compliance. WMU and dozens of other campuses involved will gather data this spring. Education Advisory Board—EAB—the survey administrator, will release the results in the fall, allowing participating campuses to see results at both an individual campus level and in as part of a larger group of similar institutions.

The survey will assess students’ perceptions a year after WMU implemented a comprehensive new sexual misconduct policy that made significant changes to the way misconduct charges are investigated and clearly spells out reporting procedures and resources on campus.

"This confidential survey will focus solely on the issues of sexual misconduct and safety, and allow us to gather detailed information on how students view issues that are part of the national dialogue," Crawford says. "It will give us insight on attitudes, awareness and the prevalence of incidents among WMU students. We can use this information to further tailor our programs, policy and response."

The survey, she says, is in keeping with White House recommendations and a national effort among universities to survey their respective campuses on the prevalence of sexual assault, the reporting of incidents and student awareness and use of campus resources.

The EAB survey is similar to one sponsored last year by the Association of American Universities, the results of which were reported last fall following participation by 150,000 students at 27 colleges around the nation, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. The widely reported results of that survey found that more than 20 percent of female undergraduates at an array of prominent universities said they were victims of sexual assault and misconduct.

All undergraduate and graduate students at WMU will be invited to take the EAB survey, which will take about 15 minutes to complete.

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