Survey seeks to better understand sexual violence on campus

This is a joint message from Chancellor Blank and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor.

This week, students at UW–Madison received email invitation to participate in the Association of American Universities (AAU) Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey. This is a national survey aimed at better understanding how sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence impact college campuses. We use the data to help make our campus a safer place by improving education, prevention and response efforts.

Sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and stalking violate UW-Madison policy and state and federal law.  We first did a survey of these issues in 2015 when a group of AAU schools initiated it. The 2015 results confirmed what we already knew, that these sexual assault and harassment were occurring at unacceptably high levels. But they also gave us a sense of how the incidence varied among different groups and where such behavior was most likely to occur.

Student involvement in this survey is invaluable and will help shape future campus policies and programs. Results from the 2015 survey prompted changes to important programs and services for students, including additional required education for incoming students, more programming for graduate students, and hiring more victim advocates and more Title IX investigators. All undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are eligible to participate. Participation is confidential and voluntary, and any experiences that are disclosed will not be considered a report to the university. Results of the survey will be communicated with the campus community during the fall 2019 semester.

UW-Madison supports healthy, mutually respectful relationships that are free from violence. We’re dedicated to preventing sexual violence before it happens and, when misconduct is reported, to promptly responding with support for survivors and an investigation if the survivor requests one. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or dating violence, help is available at UHS.

So if you’re a student, we urge you to fill out the survey. And if you’re a faculty or staff member, please encourage students you know to take part.

With your input, UW-Madison will continue to respond, prevent, support, and improve. We must work together to create a culture of respect and support on our campus. Join us in making UW–Madison safer for everyone.