Results Will Serve as Guide for Enhancing Ongoing Prevention and Education Efforts
Sept. 21, 2015
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri has received the results of the 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct from Westat, a social science research firm engaged by the Association of American Universities (AAU). MU was one of 27 AAU public and private institutions that participated in the project.
MU participated in the survey to help MU officials understand the prevalence of sexual assault and misconduct occurring on MU’s campus, to gauge student views related to MU’s climate surrounding sexual assault and misconduct, and to assess student knowledge of MU’s resources and procedures when responding to instances of misconduct.
The report will serve as an important benchmark as the University continues to measure the impact of its ongoing efforts to create a safer and more inclusive campus environment and to prevent future incidents of sexual misconduct. To that end, MU Provost Garnett Stokes is creating a Sexual Violence Prevention and Campus Climate Task Force. The Task Force, which will include staff from MU’s Relationship Sexual Violence and Prevention (RSVP) Center, will convene focus groups to more closely examine, clarify and elaborate on survey results as well as identify opportunities for improved interventions, services and prevention efforts.
“Beginning in January of 2014, UM President Tim Wolfe and I put in place numerous new policies, procedures and training programs, created a Title IX office, and hired an administrator and staff,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said. “All of these investments are aimed at reducing the number of these types of incidents and assuring our students that if they are victims, they know they have a place where they can report incidents and that they will be treated with respect. Like our peer institutions who also participated in this survey, we are committed to finding a solution to this national issue; now we have results that can be compared in subsequent years.”
MU’s response rate to the survey was 15.7 percent (4,750 MU students); the mean response rate of all 27 participating AAU institutions was 19.3 percent.
Based upon the survey results, it is estimated that 30.8 percent of MU’s senior females have been victims of nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation (the AAU survey includes in this definition incidents ranging from unwanted kissing to sexual assault) since enrolling at MU. The AAU mean was 26.1 percent.
Students were surveyed about whether or not they would report a sexual assault or misconduct to university officials. An estimated 21.2 percent of female victims of who experienced penetration by force did report a sexual assault to MU officials. The mean of all 27 AAU institutions was 25.5 percent.
The survey revealed that an estimated 64.7 percent of MU students think it is likely that their report would be taken seriously by campus officials. This compares to the AAU mean of 63.3 percent. Also, an estimated 56.4 percent of MU students said it is very or extremely likely that the safety of those reporting incidents would be protected by university officials. AAU mean was 56.5 percent.
“The fact that an estimated 30.8 percent of our senior female students say that since they entered MU, they have been victims of some kind of unwanted sexual conduct is very disturbing to me, as I’m sure these results are to every administrator of every institution participating in the survey,” MU Provost Garnett Stokes said. “These results show us that we still have much work to do. I am encouraged, however, that a large percentage of our students know how and to whom they should report these incidents. This indicates the success of our Title IX Office and RSVP Center to educate everyone on campus about how to report incidents of sex discrimination. I am committed to continuing our focus initiated more than 18 months ago to prevent these acts and to swiftly deal with those who perpetrate them. I will not be satisfied until no acts of sexual misconduct of any kind are committed at MU.”
Changes in MU policies, procedures, staffing or resources over the past 18 months include:
- Creation of a new Title IX Office, hiring of permanent Title IX administrator, a lead Title IX investigator and three investigators, and hiring of additional staff at the RSVP Center who focus on education, advocacy and prevention.
- Implementation of the “Not Anymore” online program, a video-based educational program about sexual assault, consent, dating violence, stalking, and bystander intervention. All new undergraduate, graduate and transfer students are required to complete the Not Anymore program. The Title IX Office and the Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center have been working with various campus stakeholders to implement the training and provide in-person, follow-up workshops.
- Execution of online sex discrimination training for all faculty & staff during the 2014-2015 academic year with a completion rate of more than 92 percent.
- Implementation of new policies regarding reporting of sex discrimination and the process by which sex discrimination allegations are investigated and adjudicated.
- Revision of policies prohibiting sex discrimination, which included requiring all employees to report incidents of sex discrimination to the Title IX office.
- Adoption of new procedures for investigating complaints against faculty and staff.
“Since I arrived at MU last April, I have been impressed with the University of Missouri’s commitment to providing our students with the best prevention and education resources possible to assure that our students feel safe and when threatened, know where to seek help,” MU Title IX Administrator and Assistant Vice Provost Ellen Eardley said. “So many committed individuals on this campus come to work every day and focus on keeping our students safe. I’m very proud to be among that group of individuals and look forward to using the information gleaned from this report to improve and expand our efforts.”
MU’s full report provided by Westat can be found at (http://title9.missouri.edu/about/aau-climate-survey.php); AAU’s aggregate report of all 27 institutions can be found at (https://www.aau.edu/Climate-Survey.aspx?id=16525).
Editors’ Note: See links below for a fact sheet with MU’s institutional survey results and a list of MU prevention and education resources.
Fact sheet: https://nbsubscribe.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/AAU-survey-MU-fact-sheet-9.21.15.pdf
MU prevention and education resources: https://nbsubscribe.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Prevention-and-education-resources-at-MU.pdf